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Is your laptop becoming a pain in the neck?

Fact: We are spending more time looking at portable technology wether that be laptops, tablets or smart phones as part of our daily lives. Laptops are being used more than ever. Flexible working /working from home/ and hot desking have made the laptop the common sense “work anywhere” device.

It is reported that on average we are spending 10 hours a day gazing into portable devices. This could be contributing to poor posture while doing so and can lead to

musculoskeletal problems.

The average human head weighs in at about 4.5-5.0kgs, and held in the upright position is designed to be beautifully supported by your neck bones and muscles . However tip that head down at a 45 degree angle ,looking at a laptop screen or mobile tablet, your neck and upper back muscles are now having to support (due to gravitational force) something in the region of 18-19kgs ! If you are pondering over just how heavy that is , when you are next in the supermarket just pop 19 bags of sugar in your basket to get some idea of the strain your upper back is now having to cope with. Only after an hour or so the muscles becomes burdened with this excess load. In the longterm this can lead to loss of the natural curvature of the neck bones, misalignment of the spine in the neck and mid back area.

Lap top users now even have their own syndrome H.O.L.S (Hunched Over Laptop Syndrome)

Signs and Symptoms

  • Dull or burning sensation in the upper back, neck and or shoulders

  • Stiff neck , stiff shoulder(s), frozen shoulder(s)

  • Tingling sensations in the arms or fingers

  • Pain experienced only when the poor posture is maintained for a long period of time.

  • Pain relief is experienced when the strain is taken off the affected area, ie by changing position or moving around.

So what can you do ?

NHS Live well have suggested some ways you can make your laptop safer and more comfortable to use:

• Use a separate keyboard and mouse so the laptop can be put on a stand and the screen opened at eye level.

• Use your laptop on a stable base where there is support for your arms, and not on your lap.

• Take regular breaks. If you're moving, there's a lot less stress on your muscles and joints.

• Adopt good sitting posture with lower back support, and ensure other desk equipment is within reach.

• Get into good habits before the aching starts. Neck, shoulder and back problems gradually build up over time.

Get your self a massage this is a good way to identify, bring awareness and help relieve those areas of tension you may be experiencing. Massage shouldn’t be thought of as a treat but part of your own well being program moving forward.

Of course massage doesn’t need to be confined to a clinic or home there are companies who provide office based massage such as the Onsite Massage Company for example who offer a range of treatments as part of a well being program. Your own company may well be running one and its well worth finding out.

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