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iPad And Tablet-Related Injuries On Rise
Tablet computers look set to be one of this year's top Christmas presents, but while we get to grips with our new devices, health experts are warning we should learn to handle them properly or potentially face painful consequences.
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy says it has seen an increase in the number of people with upper body pain, which could be related to the use of hand-held devices and tablets.
Businessman Jeremy Asher used to spend around six hours a day switching between his laptop, smartphone and tablet computer, until his body began to protest.
"I woke up one morning with an intensely sharp pain right around the shoulder blade. I thought ? perhaps it would go away after a night or two. But it didn't. In fact it seemed to be even worse, and it was starting to even stop me sleeping."
He was treated for a nerve problem and is now pain-free, but cases like his are becoming more common.
Chartered physiotherapist Amanda Stockton says she has seen more patients with symptoms including neck, shoulder and wrist pain, as well as headaches.
"When you're using a tablet, your neck is pointing sharply down, so your joints are getting stiff and your nerves are possibly overworking."
The unofficial term "iPad shoulder" emerged earlier this year after researchers at Harvard University looked into the risks of using tablets.
The study's leader Dr Jack Dennerlein suggests prevention is key.
"A lot of this can lead to chronic neck pain," he said. "And who knows - over the long term, these chronic issues can lead to other chronic health issues such as arthritis."
Apart from sitting upright in a chair, experts recommend keeping the tablet near eye level and taking regular breaks.
Dr Dennerlein added: "Find support in how to hold it up so that you can look at it properly. Don't use your arms if you don't have to. Go hands free. Find a good case."