I’ve had laptops for years, and I love the convenience of being able to tote my computer around, doing a few blog posts from the couch, penning a story from bed, or just sitting on the floor next to the fireplace for some web surfing. But I of all people should know this isn’t a great idea when it comes to ergonomics.
As Wall Street Journal article, “Is your laptop a big pain?” points out, “Laptops are inherently unergonomic — unless you’re 2 feet tall.”
“Most users simply set their laptops on a desk or table. The keyboard is too high, which makes your arms reach up, your shoulders hunch and your wrists bend down. The monitor is too low, which pulls your head and neck forward and down and puts a strain on your back.”
And those are just the possible problems for using a laptop at a desk. Boy, they’d have some real cuss words for me and my habit of typing from the bed, couch, floor, etc.
Fortunately, as the article points out, “That’s OK if you use your laptop occasionally, for short periods.” And I use my main computer at my desk with my ergonomically-friendly Herman Miller Aeron chairmost of the time. “But if you use one for hours at a stretch — as do millions of college students, business travelers, telecommuters, video-gamers and growing numbers of office workers — you’re setting yourself up for muscle problems that can make your entire upper body hurt.”
If you’re a frequent laptop user, and you’re experiencing aches and pains (which could run the gamut from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other hand-related RSIs to headaches and back or neck pain), you may want to take a look at your choice of computer (and how you use it) and see if its a contributor to your problems.