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Posted: Fri 13 Aug 2010 10:18
by Yvonne

Protecting Your Back, Neck And Arms From 'Laptop-itis'
The symptoms are familiar to any student who has ever spent a long night pounding out a paper on a laptop computer: an aching neck, throbbing head and tingling fingers.

Because of the way the computers are designed, using a laptop almost inevitably leads to poor posture, said Kevin Carneiro, DO, a doctor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Incorrect posture and computer overuse can cause debilitating physical problems, such as sore muscles or repetitive stress injuries. Typing can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome, an injury to the nerve that passes through the wrist.

Carneiro said that when you work at a computer, your body should form 90-degree angles at your elbows, knees and hips. Meanwhile, your eyes should look straight ahead at the top third of the screen.

But because the keyboard and monitor are combined in a laptop, they can't be positioned independently for typing and viewing.

"When you use a laptop, you have to make some sort of sacrifice," Carneiro said

Most laptop users end up with incorrect neck or shoulder posture, he said, which can lead to muscle pain in those areas.

The problem is likely to become more widespread as many universities, including UNC-Chapel Hill, now require first-year students to purchase laptops.

In 2008, global sales of laptops surpassed that of desktop computers for the first time, according to iSuppli, a market research firm based in El Segundo, Calif.

For frequent laptop users, Carneiro said the ideal solution is to use a docking station. The station links a laptop to another monitor and keyboard or to a stand that raises the screen to a higher level. You can also use a FireWire or USB cable to connect your laptop to an extra monitor or keyboard, which you can then adjust to the proper height.


-- When you purchase a laptop, consider how much it weighs, including accessories such as the power cord, spare battery or external hard drive. If you're a student, remember that you'll be carrying heavy textbooks in addition to the computer.

-- For your dorm room, obtain an adjustable chair with back support.

-- As you use the laptop, position it directly in front of you on your desk. Adjust it so that you can read the screen without bending your neck, such as by using a docking station.

-- Set up your mouse so that your wrist is in a neutral position. Both your wrists and elbows should be supported.

-- Take short breaks every 20 minutes to allow your muscles to rest in a different position. As a bonus, taking breaks will help you maintain your concentration as you power through long papers.

-- During your breaks, adjust your posture by shrugging your shoulder and gently rolling your head from side to side. You can also try Bruegger's position, which helps to keep the spine straight, shoulders level and shoulder blades close together, Carneiro said.

-- Watch for these warning signs: neck and shoulder pain, headaches at the top of your head, wrist pain or tingling in your fingers, particularly in your thumb. These symptoms indicate that you need to take more frequent breaks, adjust your posture or see a doctor.

-- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water keeps the discs in your back lubricated and healthy, Carneiro said. And don't forget to exercise daily.

Re: 'Laptop-itis'

Posted: Fri 13 Aug 2010 17:54
by Cobwebby
Funny that you should post this today. My personal desk top is on the fritz so I occassionally go on my daughter's laptop- and it is always a frustrating experience for me. Especially the back pain, and my fingers are so oriented to a different keyboard that I make a ton of mistakes. It is very laborious!
and we currently do not have internet- so I making a quick stop from a friend's computer.

Anyway- fortnately 'laptop-itis ' is something I can and will avoid. Thanks for the affirmation that it's not just me-simply an old dog unable to learn new tricks. ;)

Re: 'Laptop-itis'

Posted: Sat 14 Aug 2010 11:17
by Yvonne
My daughters are always with the laptop on their lap on the couch or in bed

I can't that, I find it an awful position. I prefer sitting on a decent seat at the computer

And when I use the laptop I put him on the table and is also just sitting on a chair. Otherwise I get very quickly complaints