Take this quiz to find out:
Are there crumbs between the keys of your laptop?
Do your neck and shoulders ache?
Would your mother tell you to sit up straight if she saw you working on your laptop?
Do you watch movies on your laptop more than at a theater?
Do you find time disappears when you sit down with your laptop?
Do you bring your laptop on vacation?
Has a coffee shop become your second “office?”
Do you get headaches at the end of the day?
Do you have tingling in your fingers sometimes?
Are you reading this article on your laptop right now?
If you answered yes to any of these questions you may be a laptop slouch potato. Not to worry though, the physical therapists at The Spine Hospital at the Neurological Institute of New York have some great tips for you, whether you use your laptop at home or in a coffee shop.
Tips for Your Home or Office.
Get a cheap external keyboard and mouse so that you can set your laptop up on books or a laptop holder so the screen is at eye level. Follow the same principles of ergonomics as at a regular computer station. That is, feet on the floor, elbows supported, wrists straight and top of the screen at eye level.
OSHA recommends sitting in a recliner or chair that will lean back while working with your laptop on your lap. This way your eyes will be closer to screen level, and your back and arms will be supported.
Tips for a Coffee Shop
Many of us use our laptops out of the home or office (that is why we have laptops) and can’t be as ergonomic as at home or in the office. Here are a couple of tips for when you use your laptop in a coffee shop, for example.
Zoom in so you don’t have to lean in too close to see what is on the screen. If you are using a PC hit the Control key and the + key at the same time. On a Mac hit the open-apple/command key next to the space bar and the + key at the same time.
Tip the screen away from you and sit on the edge of your chair then as you look up and over at the screen your back will be much straighter.
No matter where you work on your laptop, one of the best things you can do is to take breaks. It is the endless working in a bad position that leads to more problems than anything. So, get up and get a glass of water, stretch, or better yet go out and get some exercise.
Learn more about physical therapists at the Spine Hospital on their bio pages below:
Originally Published Jan 26, 2010
Updated April 4, 2017