Musculoskeletal disorder and pain associated with smartphone use: A systematic review of biomechanical evidence

Aitthanatt Eitivipart, Sirinya Viriyarojanakul, Lucy Redhead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The number of smartphone users is growing dramatically. Using the smartphone frequently forces the users to adopt an awkward posture leading to an increased risk of musculoskeletal disorders and pain. The objective of this study is to conduct a systematic review of studies that assess the effect of smartphone use on musculoskeletal disorders and pain. A systematic literature search of AMED, CINAHL, PubMed, Proquest, ScienceDirect using specific keywords relating to smartphone, musculoskeletal disorders and pain was conducted. Reference lists of related papers were searched for additional studies. Methodological quality was assessed by two independent reviewers using the modified Downs and Black checklist. From 639 reports identified from electronic databases, 11 were eligible to include in the review. One paper was found from the list of references and added to the review. The quality scores were rated as moderate. The results show that muscle activity of upper trapezius, erector spinae and the neck extensor muscles are increased as well as head flexion angle, head tilt angle and forward head shifting which increased during the smartphone use. Also, smartphone use in a sitting position seems to cause more shift in head–neck angle than in a standing position. Smartphone usage may contribute to musculoskeletal disorders. The findings of the included papers should be interpreted carefully in light of the issues highlighted by the moderate-quality assessment scores.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-90
Number of pages14
JournalHong Kong Physiotherapy Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2018


  • smartphone
  • Pain
  • Musculoskeletal conditions


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