Unless you have a full office at home, you’ve likely determined that the flexibility and mobility of a laptop serve your daily activities far better than lugging around a desktop model. While companies spend tons of money making sure your office ergonomics are good, patients still suffer from neck pain, upper back pain, and low back pain from using their laptop at home.
Is there a way to have “good laptop posture” or is just impossible?
I believe it’s possible, but you’ll need to make some modifications to how you like to use your laptop, or at least minimize the time you spend on a laptop if you’re going to ignore these tips.
Laptop posture that leads to low back pain
When someone comes into our office with low back pain, I will frequently ask them if they spend much time on a laptop. In this instance, the laptop is usually being used on a coffee table while they sit on their couch. It’s the reaching forward that eventually strains out the back and causes the pain.
It’s something that started minor enough. They wanted to use their laptop and watch T.V. They found a flat surface to put their computer on and they got to work. The first day wasn’t a big deal, but when that became a habit, their muscles started to get inflamed and that led to back pain.
Bottom line: Don’t use your laptop in this way. No good can come of it.
Laptop posture that leads to headaches, neck and upper back pain
This happens when you use your laptop on just about any other surface. Most people working at their desk know their monitor should be at least at eye-level to avoid headaches and neck pain. You don’t get a free pass when you use a laptop. So how do you fix this?
The best (and cheapest) way to use your laptop without causing damage is by treating your laptop as the monitor and purchasing an external keyboard and mouse. This allows you to prop your laptop up at eye-level (using whatever means necessary to achieve this – even a big stack of books) and then putting your keyboard and mouse at a more manageable height.
An external keyboard and mouse are easy enough to pack in your computer bag and will save you tons of pain and aggravation when trying to use your laptop in a non-ergonomic setting.
There’s no such thing as good laptop posture, but with a few modifications you can avoid the nasty side effects you’ve come to expect.