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FRI0756-HPR Evaluation of musculoskeletal complaints associated with smartphone use among university students and related risk factors
  1. E Tonga,
  2. B Özgül,
  3. E Timurtas,
  4. M Can,
  5. Y Hasırcı,
  6. MG Polat
  1. Marmara University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey


Background Smartphone use for long periods in a static and unsupported arm position could bring about abnormal alignment of upper limb and could cause postural problems and musculoskeletal pain. There are very few studies in the literature that examine the effect of smartphone use on musculoskeletal problems and related factors.

Objectives The primary aim of our study was to determine the musculoskeletal complaint associated with smartphone use among university students. other purpose of the study was to investigate the relationships with smartphone type, smartphone use frequency, smartphone use posture, smartphone use addiction level and psychological stress.

Methods 349 university students (240 women, 109 men; mean age 20.79±1,35) were included to our study. We conducted a survey that contains questions about students' smartphone usage patterns and habits. Nordic musculoskeletal Questionnaire was used to determine the musculoskeletal complaint associated with smartphone use. Working posture while using smartphone were evaluated with Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA). Smartphone addiction level were determined with Smartphone Addiction Scale (SAS). Also we use the Beck Depression İnventory (BDI) to determine the psychological distress. Pearson correlation analysis were used to associations between parameters.

Results Our results showed that university students had a high frequency of smartphone use and that the frequency was related to the level of addiction (r=0.199 p=0.00). %43 of students were use their smartphones extremely more than 4 hours. Students specified that they use their smartphones often for messaging with smartphone applications (%86.5). the most frequent symptoms were found in the neck (%59.6), shoulder (%51.82) and upper back (%54.4) regions. Statistically significant relationship was found between daily frequency of smartphone use and RULA neck posture score (r=0.170, p=0.001). Also there were statistically significant relationships found between BDI score and upper limb (r=0.15, p=0.005) and upper back (r=0.152, p=0.004) postures while using smartphone.

Conclusions Smartphone users complain at least one area (neck, upper extremity, upper back. The frequency of smartphone use and addiction level is associated with abnormal postures while using smartphones which associated physiological distress. Consequently, musculoskeletal rehabilitation programs should include an analysis of preventive strategies which should be multifactorial with the team work of all health professionals.


  1. Seong-Yeol Kim et al. Effect of duration of smartphone use on muscle fatigue and pain caused by forward head posture in adults. J Phys Ther Sci 2016;28:6.

  2. Junhyuk Park et al. The effects of heavy smartphone use on the cervical angle, pain threshold of neck muscles and depression Advanced Science and Technology Letters Vol.91.

  3. Shang-Yu-Yang Association between Smartphone use and Musculoskeletal Discomfort in Adolescent students. J Community Health 2016.


Disclosure of Interest None declared

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