Three tips to reduce the tension and pain associated with working on a laptop
Over the past two years, the pandemic brought many people a new work routine. Many found themselves working from home more than ever. As a consequence, we saw an increase in consultation for issues such as neck and shoulder pain and tension, vision fatigue, headaches, etc. which are directly related to poor working postures.
Long hours of working on a laptop, on a table and chair not designed for it can lead to various tensions and pain. It is not necessary to invest large sums of money to make your workstation ergonomic, a few simple tips below will help you effectively avoid accumulating tensions.
One of the problems from working with a laptop is that the screen is much lower than the eye level, and we tend to lean our head forward, which causes a lot of tension on the neck and it can lead to pain. The ideal solution is to get a screen and adjust the top of the screen to your eye level. If it is not an option, you can always elevate your laptop and use a keyboard. If these are not options, adjust your posture to keep your neck straight. Rather than bringing your head forward, try to just tuck your chin in, but not to the extent of creating a double chin. The goal is to keep your neck as straight as possible.
Another common problem when working on a laptop is that we tend to place it too far away from us, causing us to push our upper body and shoulders forward, as well as our head. Often, to support oneself, one will press the forearms on the table. This posture, with rolled shoulders, curved upper back and forward head, is a very undesirable posture. Not only it causes tension, discomfort and pain, but also it leads to other longer-term issues. Keeping the computer close to the edge of the table (and to our body) will help us adopt a more upright posture by straightening our upper body and pulling our shoulders and head back. Be aware of your head, neck and shoulder positions and try to bring your shoulder blades together to maintain a good posture.
When it comes to posture, more often than not, it is not the posture that is problematic, it is the PROLONGED posture. Staying in one position for a long period of time leads to muscle tensions which can become chronic and eventually cause pain. So it is important to change position and move around regularly. Set an alarm or leave your mug or water bottle across the room so you get up on a regular basis to change position and to oxygenate your muscles.
In conclusion, it is always better to set up an ergonomic workstation, with a large keyboard, a well-positioned screen and a well-designed chair. But when these arrangements are not accessible, it is still possible to work on your laptop without developing tensions and pains.
If you are experiencing persistent tension or pain, consult one of our acupuncturists. They will be able to help you reduce or eliminate your pain, and enjoy more of your daily life.