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Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology
Year : 2017, Volume : 10, Issue : 4
First page : ( 1184) Last page : ( 1190)
Print ISSN : 0974-3618. Online ISSN : 0974-360X.
Article DOI : 10.5958/0974-360X.2017.00213.X

Association between the usage of Smartphone as the risk factor for the prevalence of upper extremity and neck symptoms among University students: A cross-sectional survey based study.

Kalirathinam Deivendran1,*, Manoharlal Manoj Abraham2, Mei ChongLi3, Ling Chong Kar3, Sheng Thomas Wong Yong3, Jerome Albin4, Rao US Mahadeva5

1Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Rehabilitation, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Kuala Nerus, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

2Saveetha College of Physiotherapy, Saveetha University, Saveetha Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

3Faculty of Health Sciences, University Tunku Abdul Rahman, Selangor, Malaysia

4School of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Allied Health professions, AIMST University, Semeling, Malaysia

5Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

*Corresponding Author E-mail: devamptneuro@gmail.com

Online published on 17 July, 2017.



The usage of smartphone played a significant role in everyday life especially among students. Concern has risen universally of possible musculoskeletal symptoms among smartphone users due to excessive use.


To determine the prevalence of neck and upper extremity symptoms among University students who were using a smartphone.


A cross-sectional survey using self-administered questionnaires were conducted on 250 undergraduate students from one of the leading university in Malaysia. Six out of 250 participants (2.4%) were excluded as they were not a smartphone user. The number of participants from two faculties, namely Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences (FMHS) and Faculty of Accountancy and Management (FAM) were determined with stratified random sampling using Kish Leslie sample size formula.


The frequency of six measures of smartphone use was ranked from highest to lowest in order: Internet browsing and E-learning (85.20%), making phone calls (78.30%), texting and emails (77.00%), music, video, and pictures (75.40%), gaming (51.20%) and scheduling (32.80%). Out of 244 participants, 49 (20.1%) of the smartphone users were found to have developed some degree of upper extremity and neck symptoms. The prevalence of neck symptoms was the highest with 44 (18.03%) sufferers, followed by right shoulder symptoms (13.93%) and left shoulder symptoms (11.07%). Despite the symptoms experienced, only 5 (10.20%) participants received treatment while 30 participants (61.22%) claimed that they continued using the smartphone during these episodes.


It is postulated that there is a positive relationship between smartphone usage and prevalence of upper extremity and neck symptoms.


It is high time to disseminate the basic education on proper usage related to ergonomics is warranted to the university students to increase their awareness.



Prevalence, Upper Extremity, Neck, Symptoms, Smartphone, Students, Six measures of smartphone use.


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