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PT and the City

iPad!

Published March 22, 2012 12:32 PM by Lisa Mueller

Well, I finally bought an iPad this week. I worked some overtime last week and this week (to help offset the costs) and nudged my husband that a gift to celebrate my new job was in order. The second-generation iPads were on sale, so we went and bought one.

So far, I love it. I've been using my iPhone for months and had accommodated my eyes to that small screen. The iPad now feels like such an upgrade - the screen is so much bigger than what I'm used to and obviously the touch screen makes surfing the Internet and playing games incredibly easy. I downloaded a few of my favorite PT apps and have been using those pretty often.

As I was sitting on my couch using the iPad, I noticed that I started changing positions more frequently. I would flex my hips and knees and rest the iPad against my quads as I reclined in the chair. A few minutes later, I would turn to sidelying on the couch with the iPad next to my head. After reading a few news articles, I would get off the couch and lay on my stomach on the floor and put the iPad under my face. I just couldn't get comfortable. A few times while I was trying to prop up the iPad to read, I could feel myself almost straining my muscles to hold the position for long enough.

We didn't buy a case with the iPad and I therefore had to hold the device up with my arms to be able to read from it. My arms fatigued. I then started flexing my neck forward and rounding my back to get closer to the screen. Hello improper posture! Although I hadn't given it much thought before I purchased the iPad, it was certainly affecting my posture negatively. I'm now searching the Internet for a holding case for the iPad - something I can stand up the iPad and read from comfortably.

When the Blackberry phone hit the market a few years ago, there was an upswing of finger and thumb tendonitis resulting from overuse injuries. I'm sure we could see a similar pattern with the iPad. As our patients come with complaints of back and neck pain, it's important to discuss their posture in all settings - during sleep, at work, during exercise and while reading. Do they watch TV with a pillow propping their neck forward? Do they cook and read the recipe by hunching over the countertop?

What do you think? Have you noticed postural changes as a result of tablet devices? Do you use a tablet personally and feel differences in the way you position your neck to read? Do you have any ergonomic advice for patients who frequently use electronic devices?

3 comments

I am sensing a new PT specialty in the treatment and management of those who use these devices.

Some PT modifications to these electronics to make them more friendly could be an economic boom for an innovative person.

Jason Marketti March 23, 2012 12:08 AM

Yeah, I think I'm going to need to get one of those.  Wasn't sure at first but it is becoming increasingly obvious that I need a stand of some sort.  Now I just need to pick a color....

Lisa Mueller March 22, 2012 7:00 PM

The magnetic cover can be utilised as a stand. Worth every penny.

Dean Metz March 22, 2012 1:27 PM

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