• Vicktoria L Jimenez LMT

Good Health To You! #4

Updated: May 14

Bits of healthful information to easily incorporate into your life...

The Laptop dilemma. What to do, what to do?

A laptop is a beautiful thing. It is lightweight, compact, mobile and does so much for you. However, it turns you into a pretzel. Well, not quite a pretzel, but the design is certainly not friendly to a human body. It is a sad choice: Poor positioning either for your neck, head and shoulders or for your hands, wrists and arms.

When the laptop is, well, on your lap, it manipulates your body into

an undesirable position. Your head tilts downward so your neck loses proper alignment with your spine. Your shoulders tend to slump forward. Extended time in this position results in pain, stiffness and poor posture in general. It can even cause degeneration of joints as well as nerve damage.

If the screen is set at a proper height to keep your head erect, aligned with your spine and your shoulders level, then the keyboard is poorly positioned for proper typing. Your hands, wrists, forearms and elbows may suffer. You do not want carpal tunnel syndrome or elbow tendonitis!

How does your hand position compare?

Quick fixes to help you keep proper alignment:

  • Choose a chair that supports you comfortably upright or even slightly reclined. Don’t neglect a lumbar support if you feel pressure in your low back.

  • You can keep your wrists in a neutral position, and at a comfortable angle for typing, by setting your laptop on your lap, but with an empty 2-3 inch binder beneath the laptop. Keep the wide edge of the binder at your knees, the narrow edge pointing toward your waist. Another option is to prop your feet up on a box or some such thing, to raise your knees enough to give you that 2-3 inch rise in angle.

  • Push the laptop screen back so that you can see it while keeping your head up, your neck aligned with your spine and shoulders pulled back.

And then, to improve on the experience:

  • Periodically (at least every hour) take a break to move! Undulate (as described in blog post #1). Get up, go get water. Go look out of the window. Walk over to say “Hello!” to someone. Pet your pet. It doesn’t need to be a long break. Just move and maybe connect with another living being or with nature.

If you use a laptop frequently, put together a laptop workstation designed to keep your good posture. Position the top of the screen at about eye level. Stack books or paper reams to make adjustments. Connect a regular size keyboard and mouse positioned at or slightly below elbow height. Maintain proper alignment and you will feel better!

None of this is difficult or time-consuming. The benefits of making just a few adjustments are well worth the effort. Save yourself the pain in the neck.

Good Health to you!

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