The Telegraph is reporting that many people that post comments on it’s articles are reporting various types of muscle pain due to using their iPad (or e-notepads). They say that working with the iPad becomes difficult after awhile resulting in hand, arm or neck pain that they say can only be alleviated by forcing themselves to avoid using their device for an extended period of time. This news comes on the heels of other reports from such sources as Science Daily, Mobiledia, and UWire. Adding to mix was a recent post by the Harvard School of Public Health which offered users a way to avoid such pain.
All of the reports suggest the iPad and other e-device users may be putting themselves at risk for chronic pain as a result of using their devices for hours in a row as they use their device for a multitude of applications. The Telegraph reports that some doctors have already given the new phenomenon and new nickname: iPad hand. But it’s no joke, extended use of the device, which is notoriously difficult to hold on to for any length of time, can lead to hand and finger pain that won’t go away as soon as the device is put down. In some rare cases, inflammation of the joints can become so severe that users become patients at the emergency room.
It all stems, most of those writing about this new medical condition, from the difference in how our bodies work, versus the interface of the iPad. Our bodies, particularly our heads, neck, arms, hands and fingers, prefer to work in a natural state and to move from that state frequently. Holding onto an iPad by contrast causes cramping as users force their bodies into odd angles to accommodate the small flat device. Our bodies respond by becoming inflamed as our muscles rebel. The results is both joint and muscle pain.
Both of these can be avoided, the Harvard paper suggests, by users applying a little common sense. First, they say, change positions often. Second, put down the device and do something else now and then. They also suggest finding a way to place the device on a table that gives just the right angle for viewing. This relieves the user from having to hold it at all. And for those users that engage with their iPad at a lot, they suggest hooking up a keyboard and mouse. While clearly not an elegant solution, it certainly seems preferable to enduring pain simply for the sake of vanity.