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In Journal of imaging

The prevalence of neck pain, a chronic musculoskeletal disease, has significantly increased due to the uncontrollable use of social media (SM) devices. The use of SM devices by younger generations increased enormously during the COVID-19 pandemic, being-in some cases-the only possibility for maintaining interpersonal, social, and friendship relationships. This study aimed to predict the occurrence of neck pain and its correlation with the intensive use of SM devices. It is based on nine quantitative parameters extracted from the retrospective X-ray images. The three parameters related to angle_1 (i.e., the angle between the global horizontal and the vector pointing from C7 vertebra to the occipito-cervical joint), angle_2 (i.e., the angle between the global horizontal and the vector pointing from C1 vertebra to the occipito-cervical joint), and the area between them were measured from the shape of the neck vertebrae, while the rest of the parameters were extracted from the images using the gray-level co-occurrence matrix (GLCM). In addition, the users' ages and the duration of the SM usage (H.mean) were also considered. The decision tree (DT) machine-learning algorithm was employed to predict the abnormal cases (painful subjects) against the normal ones (no pain). The results showed that angle_1, area, and the image contrast significantly increased statistically with the time of SM-device usage, precisely in the range of 2 to 9 h. The DT showed a promising result demonstrated by classification accuracy and F1-scores of 94% and 0.95, respectively. Our findings confirmed that the objectively detected parameters, which elucidate the negative impacts of SM-device usage on neck pain, can be predicted by DT machine learning.

Al-Naami Bassam, Badr Bashar E A, Rawash Yahia Z, Owida Hamza Abu, De Fazio Roberto, Visconti Paolo


GLCM, decision tree algorithm, neck pain, smartphones, social media usage