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Neck pain associated with smartphone overuse: cross-sectional report of a cohort study among office workers

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of the current study was to investigate the extent of smartphone use, possible correlation with neck pain and/or psychological impairment in office workers.

Method

A convenience sample of 1,602 office workers who were using smartphone for prolonged periods (≥ 4 years) participated in a cross-sectional report of a cohort study, assessing demographic, abnormal symptoms of pain in the neck, physical activity, and psychological behavior characteristics. Participants were assessed using a short version of the Smartphone Addiction Scale (SAS-SV), Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scales (DASS-42) questionnaire, as well as International Physical Activity Questionnaire-Short Form (IPAQ-SF). Multiple logistic regression model was conducted to evaluate the adjusted effect of smartphone overuse on nuchal symptoms.

Results

The prevalence of neck pain among the office workers was 30.1%. Significantly more female (33.3% vs. 24.5%) and younger (42.2 vs. 43.2 years) employees reported to have neck pain. Overall in 326 (20.3%, 95% CI: 18.4%–22.4%) of studied subjects had, SAS score ≥ 31 and ≥ 33 for male and females, respectively, and so smartphone overuse (SO) was diagnosed. The results of multiple logistic regression model revealed that those with SO were approximately 6 times more likely to have neck pain (95% CI: 4.44–8.09, P < 0.001).

Conclusions

Smartphone overuse in office workers significantly increases the chance of neck pain by 6 times. Hence SO has been associated with, not only somatic complaints, but also psychological distress such as anxiety, stress, and depression. This may necessitate adherence to neck-school, when smartphone use is associated with neck pain.

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Acknowledgements

This study has been supported by support of Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS) Office workers’ Cohort TEC study; (Grant no: 36600)

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Contributions

HS was involved in study concept and design; MSY and ND were involved in analysis and interpretation of data; HS and ND were involved in drafting of the manuscript; HS, MSY, and RM were involved in critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content; MSY was involved in statistical analysis; RM was involved in administrative, technical, and material support; HS was involved in study supervision

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hooshang Saberi.

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The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.

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Derakhshanrad, N., Yekaninejad, M.S., Mehrdad, R. et al. Neck pain associated with smartphone overuse: cross-sectional report of a cohort study among office workers. Eur Spine J 30, 461–467 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00586-020-06640-z

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Keywords

  • Smartphone
  • Overuse
  • Neck pain
  • Depression