E-Readers and Back Pain
I personally find that owning a Kindle is great for reducing load, tension and compression on the muscles that affect my spine. Of course, a Nook, a Kobo, or a Sony or Apple e-reader can do just just as well for that purpose. What all these products have in common is that they are lightweight devices that allow you to read, keep up with the news, and in some cases, more.
Perhaps my favorite all time e-reader feature is the ability to put numerous books, magazines, and even music and video on the one device. (Note: I have a Kindle Fire. Not all Kindle models provide multimedia display.)
I might, for example, download 20 books to partake of at different times. While it’s true that I can enjoy any of these at my discretion, I only have to lift, handle or carry 14.6 ounces (for the Kindle Fire - weights of other models/ types of e-readers will vary) total. I don't know about you, but that’s a beautiful thing in my book.
This article presents the most common e-reading devices to help you identify for yourself the one you can best work with to keep the neck and shoulder tension at bay while you read.
Plan the Purchase - How Will You Use Your E-Reader Device?
As with any purchase of computer hardware, the key thing to ask yourself is what do you want to be able to do with the device? Then select the make and model accordingly. If cost is a consideration, I suggest picking out the right device first, and then modifying your choice to suit your wallet with a similar, but less expensive item.
There are 3 broad categories of r-readers but unless you're considering a full fledged tablet, for all intents and purposes, there are really only two. The first is the E-ink reader. This the most basic, entry level black and white electronic reading device available. You might think of the e-ink reader as the electronic version of books and newspapers. Examples include Kindle, Kindle Touch, Barnes and Noble Nook Simple Touch. All e-readers except the most basic Kindle have touch screens. E-ink readers tend to be the least expensive models on the market, but interacting online is limited if available at all. If your main purpose is to consume traditional media, the e-ink reader should do.
A few examples of e-ink readers include:
- Kindle Touch. With the Kindle Touch, Amazon boasts a high contrast e-ink touchscreen that performs like real paper, i.e. without glare, regardless of the environment in which you are reading. The Kindle Touch weighs 7.5 ounces, is warrantied for one year, includes wi-fi and has a 6” screen with a display of 800 pixels by 600 pixels. You can read up to 3000 books on the Kindle Touch. The battery has a 2 month life.
- Barnes and Noble Nook Simple Touch 2 GB Black E-Reader For the Nook Simple Touch, Barnes & Noble uses a technology called E Ink Pearl which they say displays text as crisp and clear as a printed page, even in bright sun. According to B&N, the Nook Simple Touch has 50% more contrast than the first edition of the Nook. The Nook Simple weighs less than 8 ounces and you can store up to 1000 books on it.
Hybrids are devices that are a cross between the more simplistic e-ink reader and a full fledged tablet, like the iPad. Hybrids answer the call for more functionality at an affordable price. Although they are not full tablets,they do offer a number of apps for productivity, entertainment and more.
But don't count on advanced functionality such as GPS, Bluetooth or built in cameras with a hybrid model. Just the same, a hybrid can be great for passing the time in a fun or meaningful way, perhaps making reduced activity due to a back injury a little easier to bear.
One of the more popular and well known hybrid e-reader - tablet combinations is the Kindle Fire.
Most people feel that an extra investment in an e-reader cover with the right features also contributes to reduced neck, shoulder and back pain. Here is my short list for e-reader accessories.
Related: Have you tried journaling as a way of dealing with neck or back pain? It could be helpful!