Two Simple Tips for Comfortable Laptop Usage

Woman using laptop computerDid you know that computer-related injuries have been on the rise since people started purchasing more laptops than desktop computers?

Most problems related to laptop usage could be easily avoided by acquiring a height adjustable laptop stand and a separate mouse and keyboard when you first purchase your laptop.

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I recently had first hand experience of laptop problems myself. My old desktop computer broke down at the end of June and I ended up purchasing a sleek new 15.6” HP Pavilion Notebook. I thought my new laptop would be comfortable enough to use if I attached my old keyboard and mouse to it (I hate touch pads because the cursor always goes wild).

I was wrong. Soon after I started using my new laptop, my tension headaches made a comeback. When I started observing my posture I realized I was constantly craning my neck because the display was always at a slightly wrong height.

I experimented with several arrangements before I found a way to raise the laptop at the right height. It’s still very annoying when I want to use my notebook on a sofa or on my bed (What happened to mobile lifestyle?).

Two Tips for Pain Free Laptop Usage

#1: Use a Height Adjustable Desktop Stand

To prevent tension headaches and neck pains, get yourself a height adjustable laptop stand like the one pictured on the left (Xbrand XB-1001). The XB-1001 model has four different height positions and it can be used with an external keyboard and mouse. Raising the laptop on the stand also helps keep the laptop cool.xbrand xb-1001 height adjustable laptop stand

You should position the stand so that the screen is at the eye level or slightly below. Also check your distance from the display: if you have difficulty seeing the text, increase the font size so you won’t be tempted to crane your neck to better see the text.

#2: Check for the “Forward Head” Posture

Even the best ergonomic equipment doesn’t help in the face of stubborn bad habits. The worst bad habit is perhaps the so called forward head posture.

In a forward head posture your neck is craned forward so that it hangs in front of the shoulder line. This position burdens the muscles at the back of your neck and shoulders and is the cause of many headaches and muscle tensions.

A bad case of forward head posture!*

You should regularly check you neck posture when you work and correct it simply by retracting your neck back so that it’s tall and your ears are in line with your shoulders. You probably have to repeat this quite often.

TIP: A Good way to keep reminded about your neck posture is to start observing the people around you to spot all the forward head postures. You can also rate their degree of severity on a scale from 1 to 5 (1=like a queen, 5=practically a dowager hump)!

Best,
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P.S.What makes the XBrand XB-1001 height adjustable laptop stand so great is that it has four different height positions. All members of the same household are able to use the same laptop without a big hassle.

*Image credit: skatoolaki@flickr

Comments

  1. Cindy says:

    Oh, I am a bad one about posture. I try to be good, but I slouch lower and lower until my chin is practically resting on my keyboard, then I sit up nice and straight. For about 2 minutes. Then I start the downward drift again.

    Someone should invent some kind of alarm for us long-term computer users to remind us when we start to slouch.

  2. Satu says:

    Oh, that’s a good description of slouching, Cindy 🙂

    I actually found a company on the Internet that sells devices that beep when your shoulders start rounding forward.

  3. Lowe’s or home depot has what they call a ‘back saver:..you squeeze it around your middle….and it does help to keep you upright…..
    can wear under or over clothes…
    automatic reminder

  4. Excellent advice.

  5. Lisa says:

    I have a tendency to get muscle pain and sometimes spasms if I sit too long at the computer – I end up in that forward head posture too. Getting up and moving around is what I’m supposed to do, but I always forget until one of my legs is numb or my neck is killing me. Thanks for the tips 🙂

    • Satu says:

      I have to be constantly on guard for that forward head posture too. Worst activities to me are tweaking my wordpress theme and image editing. I may stay in a hunched posture for hours on end and I always regret that the next day! 🙂

  6. Nina says:

    Head is not the only issue. I have been told by my physiotherapist that learning a new body posture habit will require 18 000 repetitions – I know it’s true: for two years I have tried to learn to keep my shoulders right and yet they are too much front like laptop users often have. Ok, I haven’t counted each time I move them backwards.. I think Pavlov could support the automatic reminder but which one is less painful: constant beeping in your ear or constant headache?

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