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?