News Release 

Sex and height might influence neck posture when viewing electronic handheld devices

University of Arkansas

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IMAGE: Figure demonstrating where landmarks were placed on the head/neck so that a geometric morphometric analysis could be completed. view more 

Credit: Kaitlin Gallagher and Ashly Romero, University of Arkansas

Sex and height appear to influence how people flex their neck when viewing handheld devices, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Arkansas.

The study looked at neck and jaw postures when using handheld electronic devices, the results suggesting that women and shorter individuals bend their necks differently than men and taller individuals; this could be related to the higher incidence of neck and jaw pain experienced by women.

As ownership of electronic handheld devices increases in the United States, new information is needed about how posture may affect the neck and jaw joint when using these devices. Some evidence shows that using these devices, such as cells phones or tablets, in certain postures may influence both the neck and jaw, eventually causing the development of pain in both. The study asked participants to hold and use electronic devices in five different postures while an X-ray was taken. These postures ranged from a neutral position of sitting straight up to a fully reclined position, as if the participant were leaning back in a chair.

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The study was originally designed by assistant professors Claire Terhune in the Department of Anthropology and Kaitlin Gallagher in the Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation, with support from the University of Arkansas Provost's Collaborative Grant and the Pat Walker Health Center. Graduate students Caitlin Yoakum and Ashly Romero, and undergraduates Courtney Moore and Ethan Douglas analyzed data and authored the study, which was published in Clinical Anatomy.

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