1. Use a desktop if available
- It is impossible, given the configuration of laptops, to maintain a comfortable posture for any length of time. A couple of hours on a weekend may be fine, but for a full day of work, a laptop is not ideal. If you position the laptop on your lap, it will inevitably result in neck and upper back discomfort. If positioned on a desk, you force the muscles in your forearms and shoulders to work in suboptimal positions. This can result in neck, back, shoulder, elbow and/or wrist pain and repetitive strain injuries.
- If you do not have a desktop, put your laptop on a stack of magazines, books, small boxes, or any other item that raises your screen to eyelevel, and purchase a separate keyboard and mouse you can use at a level whereby your shoulder and elbow remain in a relaxed position by your side.
2. Invest in a good office chair, support, or cushions.
- Most of what you pay for in a good office chair is the ability to adjust its height, tilt, etc to your specifications. If you must use a kitchen chair, arrange rolled towels and cushions to get adequate support for your lower back. You may need to put an extra cushion on your seat to raise the height of your chair such that your elbows are at approximately 90o.
- If you do have a good office chair, it helps to adjust its settings regularly so you are not in the same position the whole time. A few degrees each way occasionally can help relieve the strain of staying in the same position.
3. Find a table that is a good height
- You want to avoid positions whereby your upper back is curved forward or your chin is poking out toward your screen.
- A table that is 27-29” high is ideal. If your table is too high, it may result in shoulder and neck discomfort.
- If you have the option to stand occasionally to do your work, that can take significant strain off of your lower back.
4. 90/90/90 degrees.
- Your knees should be close to 90o, hips close to 90 o, and elbows at 90 o with forearms parallel to your desk, and wrists straight to reduce strain.
- If your hips are too low, sit on a pillow.
- If your feet dangle, put something under your feet to keep thighs parallel to the floor.
5. Get up and move around every 30-60 minutes.
- The joints in your spine derive nutrients through movement. Getting up out of your chair walking around and doing some neck range of motion exercises will provide circulation to joints and relieve muscle strain.
6. Get wrist rests.
- A wrist rest on your mouse pad and/or keyboard will help support the muscles in your forearm and keep your wrists straight.
Note: Everyone is built differently. These are just guidelines and don’t account for previous injury, individual variation, or medical history. For individualized advice, call us for an appointment.
For information about setting up a laptop workstation click here.