Smart Devices Causing Spinal Pain


Smart devices causing spinal pain has been the recent trend in which the young generation is being threatened with back and neck soreness at the early stage of their lives according to this article from The Standard. Strained neck muscles, wrist, and back pain are associated with using an iPad or tablet for many hours at a time. Acute to chronic spinal pain can be attributed to the use of modern gadgets. Surveys reveal that 97% of the users had lumbar or neck pain, which had even lingered for more than 90 days. Physical therapists recommend consulting a doctor if the pain persists for more than two weeks. In doing so, proper diagnosis can be made whether the pain is due to fracture, bacterial infection, or tumor. Neuropathic pain is also a common phenomenon, which is associated with working conditions and the posture in which one is subjected to work.



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Smart Devices Causing Spinal Pain

Smart devices have become an integral part of our lives. But convenience aside, iPads and other tablets can be the source of inexplicable physical problems, such as strained neck muscles and wrist and back pain, which can lead to annoyance and discomfort.

Peering down at your iPad screen or smartphone for long periods can in the long run be a real pain in the back. It’s different for those working at their desks with the computer monitor at eye level.


In a recent survey, the Hong Kong Multisports Association found that 97 percent of 1,500 respondents reported pain in the back or neck.


About 22 percent said they have been enduring the pain for more than three months, resulting in their work-life balance being compromised.


Pain can be classified as being acute or chronic, the latter lasting more than three months.


Cheung Kai-yin, a specialist in orthopedics and traumatology who runs his own clinic in Central, said that if your pain persists for more than two weeks, a visit to a general practitioner is highly recommended.


“The check-up will help rule out the possibility of fracture, tumor, bacterial infection and incontinence, so the patient can be correctly treated for his pain,” Cheung said.


Around 28 percent of patients at pain clinics, which are operated by the Hospital Authority, were diagnosed as having neuropathic pain, which can be stimulus-independent.


Cheung said that the causes of neuropathic pain are commonly work- related, such as poor pos

ture and repetitive strain, or physical injury as a result of an accident.


Spinal cord injury often brings on chronic pain.


Studies show that up to 40 percent of patients suffer from neuropathic pain within five years of experiencing traumatic spinal cord injury.


Cheung emphasized that non- traumatic cases in Hong Kong are largely related to a person’s lifestyle. White-collar workers hunched in front of their computer screens for long hours resulted in pressure on the lumbar vertebrae, and the extra strain on the back raised the risk of spinal cord injury.


“Patients describe neuropathic pain as burning, sharp and tearing, and a shock-like sensation,” Cheung said.


“This pain is generally chronic and debilitating, and may last for more than six months.


“It is also associated with poor quality of life, such as work disability, insomnia, depression and even suicide.”


The following professions are prime candidates for neuropathic pain – construction and manual workers, police officers, motorcycle delivery men, athletes and sportsmen, sales assistants and kitchen staff.





Neuropathic pain is associated with work on a handheld device. The reasons for smart devices causing spinal pain causes concern because of the injury to the spine is also a factor. Lifestyle and posture while at work are important factors, which determine non-traumatic cases of chronic back pain. The pain can be tearing, burning and sharp, often leading to debilitating pain for more than six months. Quality of life is an influencing factor, where insomnia, work disability, and depression can lead to chronic neuropathic pain.

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


Frequent gamers, texters and computer users can develop a condition known as ‘Text Neck’. The condition is a result of bad posture.





lower back pain



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