Chiropractic for Life

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Ergonomics for Tablet Computers

Ergonomics for Tablet Computers

Tablet computers, such as iPads, are now commonplace.  However, what many tablet users don’t realize is that these devices come with a unique set of ergonomic challenges, which are creating an onslaught of overuse injuries.

Your doctor at Chiropractic for Life finds that prolonged neck flexion is the crux of most iPad and other tablet computer-related injuries.
Essentially, neck flexion is bending the neck so that the chin is toward the chest.  From an anatomical standpoint, this is an abnormal, unnatural position.  Prolonged neck flexion may lead to a straightening — or even a reversal — of the normal curvature of the neck.  This triggers a condition known as vertebral subluxation, where spinal bones (vertebrae) become slightly misaligned.  Vertebral subluxations of the neck are linked with a myriad of health problems ranging from headaches, neck pain and shoulder pain to ear infections, fatigue and depression.
When it comes to tablet computers, the largest determinate of neck flexion is what ergonomic researchers term “gaze angle.”  Gaze angle simply means the angle at which the tablet user’s eyes view the screen.
Research suggests that tablet users should place the tablet higher, on a table rather than a lap, to avoid low gaze angles, and use a case that provides steeper viewing angles.

Dr. Barbara Smith
Chiropractor and Health Education

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