Laptops are amazing devices that allow you to take your work or entertainment anywhere you go. Can you believe that this portable piece of equipment which can comfortably fit on your lap used to be the size of a building? It’s safe to say that we’ve come a long way. In the past several years, laptops have become lighter, faster, and more jam packed with features than ever before.
Yet despite the many benefits they bring to our lives, laptops are the source of many health problems.
These issues generally stem from poor posture. As time goes by, you may forget about body composure and so unless you are constantly aware of your body movement, breathing, blinking and remember to consistently break up static contraction, you’ll eventually start paying the price.
Here are 8 ways a laptop can inflict havoc on your body:
1. Slouching as you type away affects thoracic curvature (kyphosis), causing you to lose thorax extension. This “C-shape” posture increases the stress on the joints and discs of the spine. You’ll have a harder time rotating your torso, meaning your lower back needs to work harder to compensate.
2. You won’t be able to breathe as well if you’re hunched over. Your chest can’t expand as much so you’re essentially limiting your oxygen intake. *Here's a test so you can understand what I'm talking about: Try taking a deep breath when slouching. Now do the same thing with a straight posture. Can you feel the difference?
3. That breathing impairment forces you to use your deep neck flexors, (the scalene muscles) as accessory muscles. They become short, tight, and can contribute to pain, tingling, and numbness in your arms, upper back, axilla, and forearm.
4. Slouching causes your shoulders to round forwards. This is a major cause of altered shoulder mechanics. Instead of your shoulders moving freely, Your humerus will grind against your tendons and bursa which may lead to impingement. In addition, increased kyphosis of your thoracic spine will seriously limit your capacity to raise your arms above your head.
5. Your head will jut forward as a result of the righting reflex. Even when you slouch, your eyes will naturally try to be level with the horizon which causes you to lift your chin while “crunching” your suboccipital muscles. AKA the perfect recipe for headaches!
In addition, your “forward head” increases tension in your trapezius muscles. This puts them through hours of static contraction. Tight Traps will also contribute to tension headaches.
6. Your TMJ will feel the ill effects of this muscle related stress. A forward head will cause your jaw to jut forward, creating undue strain on your TMJ joint. This tension and a good amount of teeth clenching can cause a significant amount of pain.
7. Tight forearms (flexors and extensors) with ulnar deviation caused by poor posture. You can't possibly type with straight wrists (the proper way) when you’re hunched over! That constant deviation will increase stress on your forearm muscles, resulting in moderate discomfort at best.
8. Strained and dry eyes, a result of spending too much time looking at a screen. Not blinking enough and forgetting to make frequent distance adjustments is detrimental to your eye health.
You should always be aware of your posture when you use your laptop. Failure to do so will result in very preventable painful symptoms that’ll leave you feeling less than stellar. So take breaks every 20 minutes, move around, and stretch regularly.
Your body will thank you!
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