It’s official! Laptops are bad for you.
OK that might be a slight exaggeration but according to Adrian Lee in The Daily Express the increased use of these portable computers is being blamed for a large rise in neck and back problems because they encourage bad posture.
Adrian tells us that according to Tim Hutchful of the British Chiropractic, laptops are only designed to be used for short periods. But many people spend hours at a time on them as they are being increasingly used in the home as substitutes for desk computers.
The main problem is that whereas a desktop computer has a separate screen, keyword and mouse, laptops don’t and their users are forced to hunch over and look down to view the screen which places a lot of stress on the neck, shoulders, arms and back.
“The average weight of a human head is between 8 and 10 pounds,” explains Tim. “You don’t have to bend over a laptop for very long to begin placing strain on the muscles by overloading them. Compared with standing up there is twice as much load.”
Extensive and prolonged use can cause chronic nerve damage to the spine, neck, shoulders and arms while slipped back discs are another issue. Also resting your wrists on the edge of a laptop can damage tendons and even leg pain can be a result of poor posture.
How to maintain good posture while using computers
For many of us, the use of computers is an everyday occurrence. So how can we minimise the risks of neck and back problems?
Well, here are a few suggestions:
- Maintain good posture while using your computer by siting back in your chair, keeping your ears directly over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips with your screen at eye level.
- If you regularly use a laptop, buy a stand and separate keyboard and mouse.
- Take breaks every 40 minutes. Set the timer on your cooker to ensure you have to get up as moving around refreshes the flow of blood to your muscles.
- Drink plenty of water – the added bonus of this is you will have to take regular toilet breaks!
- Take micro-breaks. Sit back in your chair for a few seconds, shrug your shoulders and allow your arms to drop to your sides.
- Don’t use your laptop sat on the sofa. Working at a table or preferably a desk is much better.
But it’s not just computer usage that can cause problems. If you use the phone while working, invest in a headset so you’re not tempted to wedge the receiver under your chin while taking notes.
There, I bet you never realised how bad for your health computers can be. But being sensible about how and when you use then will keep back and neck pain to a minimum.