Self-reported neck symptoms and use of personal computers, laptops and cell phones among Finns aged 18–65

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are currently a well known and important problem amongst the general and working population, and their overall social and economic impact is relevant. Among symptoms related to MSDs, in the general population, neck pain is one of the most frequent; depending on the case definition of individuals with a ‘musculoskeletal problem’, the incidence can range from 0.055 per 1000 person-years (disc herniation with radiculopathy) to 213 per 1000 persons (self-reported neck pain).

The authors underwent this study to investigate the possible relation between self-reported neck symptoms (aches, pain or numbness) and use of computers/cell phones. The study was carried out as a cross-sectional study by posting a questionnaire to 15,000 working-age persons, and 15.1% of all respondents (6121) reported that they very often experienced physical symptoms in the neck. The results showed that they also had many other symptoms very often, and 49% used a computer daily at work and 83.9% used cell phones.

They compared physical/mental symptoms of persons with symptoms in the neck quite often or more, with others. There was a significant differences in the physical/mental symptoms and use of cell phones and computers. The results suggest taking into account in the future that those persons’ symptoms in the neck can be associated with use of cell phones or computers.