Laptop Problems

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"The problem with laptops is that they were originally designed to be used for short periods, but now people are using them all the time," says Laurie Drake, a physical therapist with Swedish American Health System.

Portable laptops are convenient, but those increasingly shrinking notebooks pose a host of ergonomic dangers.

"The major problem with laptops is that the screen and keyboard are so close together, so posture problems are imminent. In one situation your forced to cramp your neck down in order to look at the screen. If you elevate the machine to eye level, you put stress on your shoulders, arms and wrists."

Drake says the most important to thing to remember is posture.

"For occasional users, sit in a comfortable chair in a more reclined position. This allows the muscles in your neck to be your support," says Drake.

Drake also suggests that we take mini-breaks every 20 to 30 minutes to avoid static postures, sit an arm’s length from the screen, maintain a neutral wrist position and angle the screen to reduce neck strain.

"Because our jobs are more sedentary, you see people with that forward head, rounded shoulders, so it's so important that we stress stretching," says Drake.

Drake says for those of us who use our laptop as our main computer, we should use an external keyboard and mouse, just a few suggestions to help us avoid some potential aches and pains.

There are also some things to keep in mind when transporting your laptop. Carry your notebook in a case with a padded shoulder strap and frequently shift the load or buy yourself a wheeled laptop luggage cart.