Since laptops have gained popularity over the last several years, people have been using them for nearly every form of communication, as entertainment venues, for completing schoolwork and for conducting business. As the devices’ usage increases, individuals are becoming more prone to neck pain, one of the most common complaints Beverly Hills spine surgeons and other health professionals hear. Following a few guidelines can help laptop users remain free from stiffness and discomfort.
You’re Right, It’s in Your Head
The average adult human head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds, and the body can easily support its weight when good posture is maintained. As a person begins to slouch forward, the weight of the head puts a dangerous strain on the cervical vertebrae. Holding the head at a 15-degree angle increases the load to 27 pounds and a 60-degree angle puts a tremendous 60-pound stress on the neck.
Adjust the Angle
People have a tendency to slouch over and hang their heads down when working on their laptops. Maintaining a hunched over position for an extended period of time is the primary reason that individuals succumb to sore necks. Keeping the device on a raised surface can help avoid the strain that’s placed on the cervical vertebrae when the computer is kept at a lower level.
Use External Accessories
Laptops all come with an integrated mouse and keyboard, but the posture that’s held during excessive use of the components often leads to neck strain. Even when the device is kept on a raised surface, the shoulders are forced too high when typing and the monitor tends to be too low. Using external accessories that are kept at a lower level can help users avoid undue strain.
Pulling away from the laptop every 15 minutes or so is a key element in avoiding neck pain. Keeping the neck in the same position for more than a quarter of an hour can quickly lead to knotted muscles that are difficult to loosen. Walking around for a couple of minutes and gently rolling the neck and shoulders is a good way to relax muscles that are becoming stiff. Movement also helps supply the area with oxygen-rich blood flow that helps prevent injury.
If chronic neck pain continues, schedule an appointment with a spine specialist who can diagnose the root of your pain and recommend both non-surgical and minimally invasive spine treatments to alleviate your pain. For more information, call (310) 828-7757 and request an in-person consultation with a qualified spine physician at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration.