Have you been hunching over your laptop for too long and too frequently? You may be at an increased risk of backache, muscle strains and pain in the neck, according to the British survey.
Backache is one of the chief reasons of worktime off in the UK. And the cause is none other than stooping over the laptop and smartphone for far too long. You would be surprised to know that the incidences of backache caused by lifestyle and poor posture outnumber those that are associated with injury or accidents.
Most of the offices have desk-based jobs – requiring us to slouch over the laptop for what constitutes at least 7 hours a day – that’s 35 hours a week; 770 hours a month.
The practice just doesn’t stop there. As soon as we come home, we grab our smartphones or tabs and spend countless hours streaming newsfeed on Facebook and reading e-books.
Given the intensity and frequency of time spent on digital devices, it is only natural that our backs will strain and ache. We are pushing them way beyond their anatomy and physiology. As a result, chiropractor clinics are swarming with people complaining of neck strains, sore muscles and backache.
According to one study from the Harvard School of Public Health, “Looking at the tablet for long periods of time affects your neck, head, and shoulders.”
Here are few tips you should follow to avoid muscle strain associated with prolonged laptop use:
- Do Not Slouch Over the Laptop for Prolonged Hours – Sitting hunched over your laptop for hours is the worst thing you are doing for your back. Research has shown that people who do desk jobs are more prone to back pains than those who do manual work.
When the prolonged use of laptop is unavoidable, first thing you should do is to abstain from slouching over the screen. This posture puts strain on your spine and lower back. Sitting in such a posture for prolonged periods of times can lead to musculoskeletal problems.
- Sit straight or Support Your Back with a Seat – Back pain can be avoided, and in some cases, relieved by taking a simple step – sitting with your back straight. Sitting straight for hours, however, is simply not possible; in that case you should choose to sit on a recliner or a lounger that supports your back as you use the machine.
- Buy an External Keyboard with a Built-in Mouse for Your Laptop – This will let you set your laptop display at a height suitable for you. The extended set up will also allow you to use your laptop from a distance as you rest your back on the chair. You can even place the keyboard in your lap and lean your back on the support. This will take the load off your spine and neck. The ideal position of the laptop is around at an arm’s distance away from you. It should be slightly below your eyes.
- Go for Extended Ergonomic Laptop Setup – if your back aches a lot due to the persistent use of laptop. This setup includes a laptop holder, a keyboard support, an external keyboard, a mouse and an ergonomic chair. The chair provides a lumbar support for your back where you can recline comfortably. With this setup, the laptop is at a reasonable distance with keyboard and mouse in your convenient reach. This is the best position to use laptop, it prevents slouching and leaning forward.
An adjustable laptop support allows you to adjust the height of the screen to suit your convenience. Remember to adjust laptop to a position where the screen should just be below your eyes. This prevents strain on the eyes.
Other Tips For Laptop Users
- Don’t poke your chin forwards.
- Always prefer to place the laptop on the desk, table or a lap pad.
- It’s better not to use laptop on your lap for long periods, this posture requires hunching. If not on the desk, place your laptop on a pile of books that reaches your eye level.
- If possible, use a wireless keyboard and mouse.
iPad and tablet users should follow these tips to avoid neck and back strain:
- Don’t twitch your neck or upper body.
- Instead of holding the device in hands and slouching over it, place it on a pillow, cushion or lap-tray. This will keep your head central and neck and shoulders relaxed.
- The device should be placed so that the screen tilts towards you.
- If using the tab in bed, support your back with a couple of pillows.
- Don’t type on the touchscreen for too long, get a wireless keyboard, if you must.
General Advice To Avoid Back Pain
- Don’t spend too much time on the machine. Take regular breaks.
- Notice your posture; as soon as you see yourself slouching, remind yourself to sit straight or lean back on the chair.
- Do regular stretches and other exercises to support your back.