Posture during the use of electronic devices in people with chronic neck pain: A 3D motion analysis project Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Non-neutral postures during computerised device use coupled with increased usage may increase the risk of neck pain. Greater knowledge of postures that individuals with neck pain adopt during computerised device use is warranted. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate neck and upper limb posture while using a tablet, laptop and desktop computer (sitting and standing) in individuals with chronic neck pain. METHODS: Differences in three-dimensional kinematic variables were assessed during four conditions: tablet, laptop, desktop computer (sitting and standing) in 22 individuals with chronic neck pain >3 months. Differences between kinematic variables were determined using one-way repeated measures ANOVA with Bonferroni post-hoc tests. RESULTS: Compared to the desktop (sitting), tablet and laptop use resulted in increased neck flexion (mean difference tablet – 14.42°, 95% CI – 19.88, – 8.96, P <  0.001; laptop –7.19°, –12.08, –2.31, P = .020); upper trunk flexion (tablet –14.89°, –20.22, –9.56, P <  0.001; laptop –5.56, –10.02, –1.09, P = .009) and tablet bilateral shoulder elevation (left 11.01 mm, 2.01, 20.04, P <  .016; right 13.08 mm, 3.09, 23.11, P <  .006). CONCLUSIONS: Tablet and laptop use resulted in greater neck flexion, bilateral shoulder elevation and upper trunk flexion compared to a standard desktop computer, suggesting individuals with chronic neck pain should be mindful of their posture when using these smaller devices. Future research should explore how differences in posture may influence neck pain.

publication date

  • September 6, 2020

published in