Laptop computers have helped make our working and study life far more flexible, however evidence that suggests that spending long periods of time using a laptop can lead to neck pain from looking down at the screen. Laptop use can also affect other areas of the body including:
• Our wrists and hands from typing
• Our lower back from being flexed into a chair or on the bed
• Our mid back can stiffen up from lack of movement
• Our hips can get tight from being at a right angle all day when seated
So what can you do about it? There is evidence that demonstrates that specific strengthening of the neck and other areas of the body has a significant impact on reducing neck and back pain in office workers.
Here are a few strategies that have shown to help reduce the pain experienced from use of the laptop:
- Good general fitness levels in office workers has shown to decrease the development of neck and back pain. Good fitness levels improve the integrity and health of muscles and can allow you to be at the laptop for longer periods before experiencing pain
- A good ergonomic desk set up helps to manage and prevent common computer related problems
- Taking regular breaks and alternating between sitting and standing is equally important
- These strategies along with a few simple stretches that can be done throughout the workday will help.
Here are a few you can try:
1. Wrist and arm stretch
- Extend your affected arm straight out in front of you with your palm face down, and drop your hand towards the floor
- With your other hand, apply a gentle pressure to the back of your wrist and hold.
You should feel this stretch down the back of your forearm
2. Finger stretch
- Sitting in a chair, take your arm out in front of you
- With your opposite hand, pull back four fingers
- Hold this position
- Turn your hand over and pull down on the fingers
- Pull down and back on the fingers again, leaving the thumb out of the stretch
- Keep your elbow straight
3. Upper back stretch in a chair
- Start in a seated position, with your feet on the floor.
- Place a rolled up towel between the backrest and your upper spine.
- Place your hands on your neck and your fingers.
- Point your elbows to the front. From this position, lean backwards over the towel.
- Hold this position for the required time.
- After this, you can move the towel upwards or downwards.
4. Lower back and hip stretch in standing
- Stand with your legs at hip width apart and straight.
- Place your hands on your hips. Lean your body backwards, trying to arch in the lower back as much as
- you can, lifting your chest up towards the ceiling.
- Try to avoid allowing your hips to swing forwards too far.
- Hold this position before returning to the start position
Hope this helps and have a great weekend, Deb