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You can't buy good health but you can buy good health information. Check out these newly released Special Health Reports from Harvard Medical School:

6 tips to prevent neck, shoulder pain when using an iPad or computer, from the Harvard Health Letter

Hours spent using an iPad or other tablet can cause neck and shoulder problems. Blame it on the viewing angle. A simple shift can change everything, reports the October 2012 Harvard Health Letter.

Holding a tablet computer too low, say on the lap, forces the neck to bend forward too much, straining and possibly even injuring muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, or spinal discs. Simply placing a tablet on a table propped at an angle in a tablet case can reduce neck strain and potential pain, according to research conducted by Dr. Jack Dennerlein and his colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health.

One of the best things to do, no matter what kind of computer you are using, is take a break. "Change your position every 15 minutes," says Dr. Dennerlein, an adjunct professor of ergonomics and safety at the Harvard School of Public Health. Other tips include:

When using an iPad or tablet:

  • Use a case that positions the device at a comfortable viewing angle
  • Take a break every 15 minutes
  • Routinely shift hands and weight; stand up if seated, or sit down if standing

When using a laptop or desktop computer, follow the same tips for a tablet plus:

  • Use an external keyboard
  • Keep shoulders relaxed and elbows close to the body
  • Keep hands, wrists, forearms, and thighs parallel to the floor

Read the full-length article: "Prevent pain from computer use"

Also in this issue of the Harvard Health Letter

  • The new medicine: Muscle strength
  • Ask the doctor: Is coconut oil good for you?
  • Ask the doctor: Calf pain may signal nerve and circulatory problems.
  • Best way to get your calcium
  • Reduce Parkinson's symptoms
  • Prevent pain from computer use
  • Dark chocolate protects arteries?
  • Breakthrough breast cancer drug
  • Yet another risk of heart failure
  • Dilated eye exams are critical
  • Build a better skin barrier
  • What you should know about: Statins
  • News briefs: Colorectal cancer genes identified
  • News briefs: ACE inhibitors may lower pneumonia risk
  • News briefs: Cataract surgery may help lower hip fracture risk
  • News briefs: Study shows corticosteroids ineffective in treating acute sinusitis

More Harvard Health News »

About Harvard Health Publications

Harvard Health Publications publishes four monthly newsletters--Harvard Health Letter, Harvard Women's Health Watch, Harvard Men's Health Watch, and Harvard Heart Letter--as well as more than 50 special health reports and books drawing on the expertise of the 8,000 faculty physicians at Harvard Medical School and its world-famous affiliated hospitals.