London - Women may be at greater risk of neck pain because of the way they use smartphones and tablets, a study suggests.
Electronic devices cause women to look down towards their chest and stick their head out, while men, who tend to have longer necks because they are taller, bend them less awkwardly.
It could explain why women suffer more neck and jaw pain than men. The US researchers found men tend to bend their neck where their head meets their spine, while women do not.
The researchers X-rayed ten women and 12 men while they used a tablet in five different positions. The sexes showed no difference in neck movements staring straight ahead at the centre of a tablet in their hand. But there was a difference when they sat upright, bent fully forward or reclined at 15 or 30 degrees, the study in the journal Clinical Anatomy found.
The women’s position could cause pain, especially using a device while snacking or talking, which puts further strain on the jaw. Dr Claire Terhune, senior author at the University of Arkansas, said: "Our advice to women would be to be aware of their posture and try to put themselves in a better position if using a device."
The women were six inches (about 15cm) shorter than the men on average, with smaller necks. A study of taller women and shorter men might find a different result. The British Chiropractic Association says more than one in five people have had back or neck pain from using a smartphone.Daily Mail