Evaluating the relationship between smartphone addiction/overuse and musculoskeletal pain among medical students at Qassim University (2019)

J Family Med Prim Care. 2019 Sep 30;8(9):2953-2959. doi: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_665_19.

Alsalameh AM1, Harisi MJ1, Alduayji MA1, Almutham AA1, Mahmood FM2.



Smartphone use has greatly increased in recent days, and most of the daily tasks are done through these devices. As a result, long time use may involve bad posture that may result in musculoskeletal pain. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the association between addiction/overuse of smartphones and musculoskeletal pain.


To determine the prevalence of addictive/overuse of smartphones among medical students and to investigate if there is an association between smartphone addiction and musculoskeletal pain.


A cross-sectional study conducted at Qassim University, medical college. The Smartphone Addiction Scale Short Version (SAS-SV) was used to measure the level of smartphone addiction while the Nordic musculoskeletal questionnaire (NMQ) was utilized to evaluate the musculoskeletal pain.


The prevalence of smartphone addiction among medical students was relatively high (60.3%). The most frequent pain related to smartphone addiction was in the neck (60.8%), followed by lower back (46.8%), shoulder (40.0%). The academic year level was statistically associated with the level of smartphone addiction. Moreover, we found a significant relationship between musculoskeletal pain and smartphone addiction at certain body regions, neck, wrist/hand and knees, Other musculoskeletal parameters included in the test were found to have no statistically significant association.


More than half of the medical students identified as addicted to smartphones. The most common musculoskeletal pain was the neck, lower back, and shoulder. The academic year level found to have a significant association with the level of smartphone addiction while musculoskeletal pain such as neck, wrist, and knee were the independent significant factors of smartphone addiction; therefore, it is important to educate the community about the effect of being addicted to smartphone use in order to prevent the consequences of this behavior.

KEYWORDS: Addiction; Nordic musculoskeletal questionnaire; Smartphone Addiction Scale Short Version; medical students; musculoskeletal pain; smartphone

PMID: 31681674

PMCID: PMC6820402

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_665_19

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