The common laptop has the potential to be a great ergonomic tool given its portability. But, like most things, its value depends on how we use it. This post will highlight the common mistakes we make when using our laptops that cause neck and back pain and offer advice on how to practice good computer ergonomics from home.
Mistake #1: The Lean
While most people sit at a desk when using a computer at work, many of us like to relax on the couch or in our favorite chair when using our laptops at home. There are times when you might not want to hold the computer in your lap – maybe you’re eating, or maybe your legs are hot. Whatever the reason, it’s tempting to place the laptop on a coffee table or ottoman in front of your favorite lounging spot. To access your laptop from this position, you need to lean forward, placing your head above, or even forward of, your knees.
Mistake #2: Moving Yourself, Not the Computer
Having a portable computer is only as convenient as you make it. Whether the laptop is on your lap or another surface, you may find yourself constantly craning your neck toward the screen. This results in “forward head posture,” a now-common type of postural distortion thanks to laptops and tiny mobile devices. The muscles in the back of the neck are strained in this position, tensing to hold your face up while being stretched out. Tension headaches, neck pain and upper back pain can result.
Mistake #3: Not Moving
You’re lounging, reading the news, checking social media sites. Time has a way of flying by when you’re on the computer. You may suddenly notice that a couple hours have passed and you haven’t moved an inch; that’s not so good for your body. Put the computer down and walk around the house for a minute. Do some stretches. Check out www.youtube.com for some quick exercises and stretches designed for people who use the computer for prolonged periods of time throughout the day.
NOTE: For all desk workers this book by Dr. Kelly Starrett wrote this book for you. It will show you how to get out of pain from sitting at your desk all day. Some of the information you may have heard before but I guarantee nobody has received this exact and duplicate-able information. Kelly Starrett has your answer to sitting with back pain.