Tips for Preventing Pain When Using an iPad or Computer

Every time I get a massage, my therapists feel the knots in my neck muscles and guess that I spend a lot of time in front of the computer. It’s a malady that I think that many of us—both those of us in the industry and our clients—tend to face. So when I got these tips from the October 2012 Harvard Health Letter, I wanted to pass them along. According to research conducted by Dr. Jack Dennerlein and his colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health, hours spent using an iPad or other tablet can cause neck and shoulder problems. But a simple shift can change everything.

Holding a tablet computer too low, say on the lap, forces the neck to bend forward too much, straining and possibly even injuring muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, or spinal discs. Simply placing a tablet on a table propped at an angle in a tablet case can reduce neck strain and potential pain, according to the research.

One of the best things to do, no matter what kind of computer you are using, is take a break. "Change your position every 15 minutes," says Dennerlein, an adjunct professor of ergonomics and safety at the Harvard School of Public Health. Other tips include:

When using an iPad or tablet:

  • Use a case that positions the device at a comfortable viewing angle
  • Routinely shift hands and weight; stand up if seated, or sit down if standing

When using a laptop or desktop computer, follow the same tips for a tablet plus:

  • Use an external keyboard
  • Keep shoulders relaxed and elbows close to the body

Keep hands, wrists, forearms, and thighs parallel to the floor

I encourage you to share this tips with your clients and to take this advice to heart, as well. And if you would like to read the full article, click here.