How to use laptop ergonomically.
Something you should know about an ergonomic use of Laptop
Laptop computers are lightweight, portable and convenient. Unfortunately, the laptop’s compact design, with attached screen and keyboard, forces laptop users into awkward postures. When the screen is at the right height, the keyboard position is too high; when the keyboard is at the right height, the screen is too low. This creates an ongoing trade-off between poor neck or head and hand or wrist postures.
Laptop or desktop, what’s better for your spine health?
Laptops have replaced desktops in almost every office and home. Consider it a style statement or the convenience to carry it from one place to another, laptops are a rage. There are others who still like the desktops for a variety of technical reasons. Whichever you use, both laptops and desktops have their set of cons and can affect your back and spine…. MORE
Scared Sitless: 3 strategies for proper ergonomics with laptops, tablets and smartphones
It’s not news to GeekWire readers that laptops have overtaken desktops as the mainstays of office computing. More dramatically, over just the past few years, tablets and smart phones have changed the computing game even more, becoming widely adopted much more quickly than prior technologies. The compactness and portability of these gadgets has made our lives better in countless ways. But we are paying a steep health price…. MORE
Current practice of laptop computer and related health problems: A survey based on ergonomics. by Chavda E, Parmar S, Parmar M. (Academic)
In recent years, laptop computers were popular among college students for the purpose of education as well as recreation. The present study was designed to evaluate the current practice of Laptop computer and computer related health problems among college students, based on ergonomics. Material and Methods: The cross-sectional study was conducted over a three month timeframe, from April to June, 2013 in tertiary care hospital and teaching medical college. We included 100 students with age group 22-28 years, using laptop computer. Pre-designed and content validated, self-reporting questionnaire was used for data collection. Student’s refusal for participation and incomplete questionnaire were excluded in the study. Results: Current practice of laptop’s usage was ergonomically improper. Prolonged usage in improper posture has created various musculoskeletal problems among medical students. Conclusion: Current practice of laptop’s usage exposes students to prolonged poor postures which leads to various musculoskeletal problems. There is a need to increase the awareness of ergonomics to improve the current practice of laptop’s usage and to minimize health problems among students…. MORE
Without the proper accessories, a laptop computer can be a pain in the neck, from the “The New York Times”
The portability of these little powerhouses is appealing but doesn’t automatically turn a train, plane or bed into a suitable work space. Even though laptops may be plug-in-and-go machines, laps can be too unsteady, beds too soft and hotel desks too high to be ergonomically correct: next thing you know, you may have sore shoulders, an aching back or painful wrists. So it’s worth thinking about how to create a safe and comfortable work area.
Aching back? sitting up straight could be the culprit Extract from RSNA (Radiological Society of North America)
Reclining backward in a 135-degree position constitutes optimal sitting posture. “A 135-degree body-thigh sitting posture was demonstrated to be the best biomechanical sitting position, as opposed to a 90-degree posture, which most people consider normal,” said Waseem Amir Bashir, M.B.Ch.B., F.R.C.R., author and clinical fellow in the Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging at the University of Alberta Hospital, Canada. “Sitting in a sound anatomic position is essential, since the strain put on the spine and its associated ligaments over time can lead to pain, deformity and chronic illness.” Back pain is the most common cause of work-related disability in the United States, and a leading contributor to job-related absenteeism, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. By identifying bad seating postures and allowing people to take preventative measures …. Disk movement was most pronounced with a 90-degree upright sitting posture…
It was least pronounced with the 135-degree posture,
Harvard study finds the iPad can be a pain in the neck
Apple sold a record breaking 15.43 million iPads in the last three months of 2011, which means a lot of people are starting to use tablet computers…. A. The researchers found that people are more inclined to move around and shift positions when they use a tablet compared with people who are sitting at a desktop computer. That’s definitely good. However, tablet users that hold the device almost at their lap, or rest the tablet in a case on their lap, are putting a lot of strain on the neck muscles — much more than someone using a laptop or desktop computer. They concluded that the best position is the table-movie position because it is the only position in which the user’s posture approached neutral. All the other positions put a lot of strain on the user’s neck muscles. One additional note: When we reached out to Apple to see if they had any comment on the ergonomics on using the iPad, a spokesperson pointed us to a large section on ergonomics on Apple’s website. The section is impressive, but the suggestions and diagrams are all related to desktop computers, and the site did not have any recommendations on how to most safely use a tablet…. MORE
Danger may cause the laptop to fertility
… If guys can find a way to operate laptop computers with their legs apart, they might limit their risk of infertility, a new study finds. Keeping the legs splayed while using a laptop generated substantially less damaging heat in the scrotum than keeping legs together, scientists report online Nov. 8 in Fertility and Sterility. Putting a shield under the laptop didn’t seem to help beat the heat…. MORE
Healthy Steps for Prevention of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the compression and entrapment of the median nerve where it passes through the wrist into the hand – in the carpal tunnel. The median nerve is the main nerve that extends down the arm to the hand and provides the sense of touch in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the fourth (or ring) finger. When irritated, tendons housed inside the narrow carpal tunnel swell and press against the nearby median nerve. The pressure causes tingling, numbness, or severe pain in the wrist and hand; this pain is often felt at night. Also, the internal pressure results in a lack of strength in the hand and an inability to make a fist, hold objects, or perform other manual tasks. If the pressure continues, it can damage the nerve, causing permanent loss of sensation and even partial paralysis. CTS develops in the hands and wrists from repetitive and/or forceful manual tasks performed over a period of time. For example, the meatpacking industry is considered one of the most hazardous industries in the United States because workers can make as many as 10,000 repetitive motions per day in assembly line processes (such as deboning meats) with no variation in motion Consequently, stress and strain are placed on the wrists and hands, which can result in CTS. CTS affects workers in many fields. It is common among draftsmen, meatcutters, secretaries, musicians, assembly-line workers, computer users, automotive repair workers, and many others. CTS can be treated with steroids, anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, or with surgery to loosen the transverse carpal ligament. Recovery of wrist and hand function is often, but not always, complete.
CAUSES Like many skeletomuscular disorders, CTS has a variety of causes. It is often the result of a combination of factors, one of the most frequent is Repetitive motion. The most common cause of CTS that’s been attributed to the workplace is repetitive motion. When you flex your hand or fingers, the flexor tendons rub against the walls of the carpal tunnel. If you allow your hand time to recover, this rubbing is not likely to lead to irritation. The amount of recovery time you need varies from fractions of a second to minutes, depending on many factors: 1) the genetic and health factors mentioned above, 2) the intensity of the flexing, 3) the weight of any objects in your hand, and 4) the extent to which you bend your wrist during flexing
PREVENTION Computer keyboard users can take several steps to lower their chances of developing CTS. Some of these center around the configuration of the workplace, or “ergonomics.” Others have to do with human factors.
Ergonomics. Proper seating is crucial to good ergonomics. The height of your seat and the position of your backrest should be adjustable. The chair should be on wheels so you can move it easily. Arm rests on the chair, though optional, are often helpful. Table height. To adjust the chair properly, look first at the height of the table or desk surface on which your keyboard rests. On average, a height of 27-29 inches above the floor is recommended. Taller people will prefer slightly higher tables than do shorter people. If you can adjust your table, set your waist angle (see bulleted list below) at 90 degrees, then adjust your table so that your elbow makes a 90 degree angle when your hands are on the keyboard. Wrist angle. If your keyboard is positioned properly, your wrists should be able to rest comfortably on the table in front of the keyboard. Some keyboards are so “thick” that they require you to bend your hands uncomfortably upward to reach the keys. If so, it will help to place a raised wrist rest on the table in front of the keyboard. A keyboard that requires you to bend your wrists is a common cause of CTS among computer users. Elbow angle. With your hands resting comfortably at the keyboard and your upper arms vertical, measure the angle between your forearm and your upper arm (the elbow angle). If it is less than 90 degrees, raise the seat of your chair. If the angle is greater than 90 degrees, lower the seat. Try to hold your elbows close to your sides to help minimize “ulnar displacement” – the sideways bending of the wrist (as when reaching for the “Z” key). Waist angle. With your elbow angle at 90 degrees, measure the angle between your upper legs and your spine (the waist angle). This too should be about 90 degrees. If it is less than 90 degrees, your chair may be too low (and your knees too high). You may need to alter the position of the backrest or adjust your own posture (nothing provides better support than sitting up straight). (Note: If making your waist angle 90 degrees changes your elbow angle, you may need to readjust the height of your chair or table.) Feet. With your elbows and waist at 90 degree angles, your feet should rest comfortably flat on the floor. If they don’t, adjust your chair and table height and repeat the steps above. If your table isn’t adjustable and your feet don’t comfortably reach the floor, a raised footrest can help. Otherwise, you may need a different table.
10 tips to find a good posture.
The following 10 questions can help you decide on what will be a good ergonomic design for your situation:
1-How will the computer be used? Who will be using the computer?
If the computer will only be used by one person then the arrangement can be optimized for that person’s size and shape; features such as an adjustable-height chair may be unnecessary. If the computer will be used by several people, you need to create an arrangement that most closely satisfies the needs of the extremes (that is, the smallest and tallest, thinnest and broadest persons) as well as those in between these extreme
2-How long will people be using the computer?
If it’s only a few minutes a day, then ergonomic issues may not be a high priority. If it’s more than 1 hour per day, it is advisable that you create an ergonomic arrangement. If it’s more than 4 hours, then you should immediately implement an ergonomic arrangement.
3-What kind of computer will be used?
Desktops. Most ergonomic guidelines for computer workstation arrangements assume that you will be using a desktop system where the computer screen is separate from the keyboard. Laptop computers are growing in popularity and are great for short periods of computer work. Guidelines for laptop use are more difficult because laptop design inherently is problematic – when the screen is at a comfortable height and distance the keyboard isn’t and vice versa. For sustained use, you should consider purchasing: an external monitor and an external keyboard (preferably a keyboard with a negative-tilt tray) or a docking station; then arrange your workspace to create a good workstation layout.
4-What furniture will you use?
Make sure that the computer (monitor, CPU system unit, keyboard, mouse) are placed on a stable working surface (nothing that wobbles) with adequate room for proper arrangement. If this work surface is going to be used for writing on paper as well as computer, you need a flat surface that is between 28-30 inches above the floor (suitable for most adults). You should consider attaching a keyboard/mouse tray system to your work surface. Choose a system that is height adjustable, that allows you to tilt the keyboard down away from you slightly for better wrist posture, and that allows you to use the mouse with your upper arms relaxed and as close to the body as possible and with your wrist in a comfortable and neutral position. …..but those are Lounge-book’s Features!
5-What chair will be used?
Choose a comfortable chair for the user to sit in. If only one person is using it, the chair can even be at a fixed height, providing that it is comfortable to sit on and has a good backrest that provides lumbar support. If more than one person will be using the computer, consider buying a chair with several ergonomic features. Studies show that the best seated posture is a reclined posture of 100-110 degrees – NOT the upright 90 degree posture that is often portrayed. In the recommended posture, the chair starts to work for the body, and there are significant decreases in postural muscle activity and in intervertebral disc pressure in the lumbar spine. Erect sitting is NOT relaxed, sustainable sitting – reclined sitting ….. is this your favorite Armchair? With a Lounge-book, Laptop reach User!
6-What kind of work will the computer be used for?
Try to anticipate what type of software will be used most often. Word processing – arranging the best keyboard/mouse position is high priority. Surfing the net, graphic design – arranging the best mouse position is high priority. Data entry – arranging the best numeric keypad/keyboard is a high priority. Games – arranging the best keyboard/mouse/game pad is a high priority.
7-What can you see?
Both your documents and the computer monitor should be positioned for easy viewing. Make sure the monitor is in front of you and facing you, not angled to the left or right. This helps to eliminate excessive neck twisting. Also, use the screen scroll bars to ensure that whatever is being viewed most is in the center of the monitor, rather than at the top or bottom of the screen. Center the monitor so that your body and/or neck isn’t twisted when looking at the screen. However, if you are working with a large monitor and spend most of your time working with software like MS Word (which defaults to creating left-aligned new pages) and you don’t want to have to drag these to more central locations, try aligning yourself to a point about 1/3 of the distance across the monitor from the left side.
Put the monitor at a comfortable height that doesn’t make you tilt your head up to see it or bend your down to see it. When you are seated comfortably, your eyes should be in line with a point on the screen about 2-3″ below the top of the monitor casing (not the screen). Sit back in your chair at an angle of around 1
00-110 degrees (i.e. slight recline) and hold your right arm out horizontally. Your middle finger should almost touch the center of the screen. From that starting position you can then make minor changes to screen height and angle to suit. Research shows the center of the monitor should be about 17-18 degrees below horizontal for optimal viewing, and this is where it will be if you follow the simple arm extension/finger pointing tip. You actually see more visual field below the horizon than above this (look down a corridor and you’ll see more of the floor than the ceiling), so at this position you should comfortably be able to see more of the screen. If the monitor is too low, you will crane your neck forward; if it’s too high, you’ll tilt your head backwards and end up with neck/shoulder pain. Bifocals and progressive lens – Even if you wear bifocals or progressive lenses, if you sit back in your chair in a reclined posture (with your back at around 110 degrees), and if you slightly tilt the monitor backwards and place it at a comfortable height, you should be able to see the screen without tilting your head back or craning your neck forward. Postural problems with bifocals can occur if you sit erect or even hunched forward. The problem with low monitors is that they cause neck flexion and suffer more from glare. Recent studies have shown that the best position for a computer monitor is for the center of the screen to be at around 17.5 degrees below eye level. Try to align your eyes with the top of the viewing area of the screen; this should put the center about right geometrically. Viewing distance – The monitor should be at a comfortable horizontal distance for viewing, which usually is around an arm’s length. Sit back in your chair and raise your arm and your fingers should touch the screen. At this distance, you should be able to see the viewing area of the monitor without making head movements. If text looks too small, then either use a larger font or magnify the screen image in the software rather than sitting closer to the monitor Screen quality – Use a good quality computer screen. Make sure that the text characters on your screen look sharp, and that they are a comfortable size. (You can change the screen resolution to find a comfortable and clear character size). If you can see the screen flickering out of the corner of your eye, you should try increasing the refresh rate of your monitor. (On a PC, you can change monitor resolution and refresh rates using the monitor control panel in your settings folder. On a Mac, you can use the monitor control panel). You may also consider using a good quality glass anti-glare filter or an LCD display (like a laptop screen). Eye checkup – There are natural changes in vision that occur in most people during their early 40s. It’s a good idea to periodically have your eyes checked by a qualified professional. Screen adjustments – If any screen adjustments feel uncomfortable, change them until the arrangement feels more comfortable or seek further professional help.
Good posture is the basis of good workstation ergonomics and is the best way to avoid a computer-related injury. To ensure good posture: Make sure that you can reach the keyboard keys with your wrists as flat as possible (not bent up or down) and straight (not bent left or right). Make sure that your elbow angle (the angle between the inner surface of the upper arm and the forearm) is at 90 degrees or greater to avoid nerve compression at the elbow. Make sure that your upper arm and elbow are as close to the body and as relaxed as possible for mouse use – avoid overreaching. Also make sure that your wrist is as straight as possible when the mouse is being used. Make sure your chair has good back support. Also check that your feet can be placed flat on the floor or on a footrest. Make sure your head and neck are as straight as possible. Make sure your posture feels relaxed. Keep it close Make sure that those things you use most frequently are placed closest to you so that they can be conveniently and comfortably reached. Make sure that you are centered on the alphanumeric keyboard. Most modern keyboards are asymmetrical in design (the alphanumeric keyboard is to the left and a numeric keypad to the right). If the outer edges of the keyboard are used as landmarks for centering the keyboard and monitor, your hands will be deviated because the alphanumeric keys will be to the left of your midline. Move the keyboard so that the center of the alphanumeric keys (the B key) is centered on your mid-line. Make sure that the phone is also close to you if you frequently use it. A good workstation ergonomic arrangement will allow any computer user to work in a neutral, relaxed, ideal typing posture that will minimize the risk of developing injury. Ideally, your keyboard should be placed on a height-adjustable negative-tilt tray. The mouse should be on a flat surface that’s 1-2 inches above the keyboard and moveable over the numeric keypad. If you want a surface at the level of the keyboard’s base, then make sure that this surface can also be angled downwards slightly to help to keep your hands and wrists in a neutral position while you are using your mouse. Also, keep your elbows as close to the body as possible while you work.
9- Where will the computer be used?
Think about the following environmental conditions where the computer will be used: Lighting – Make sure that the lighting isn’t too bright. You shouldn’t see any bright light glare on the computer screen. If you do, move the screen, lower the light level, or use a good quality, glass anti-glare screen. Also, make sure that the computer monitor screen isn’t backed to a bright window or facing a bright window so that the screen looks washed out (use a shade or drapes to control window brightness). Ventilation – Make sure that you use your computer somewhere that has adequate fresh-air ventilation and that has adequate heating or cooling so that you feel comfortable when you’re working. Noise – Noise can cause stress; stress tenses your muscles, which can increase injury risks. Try to choose a quiet place for your workstation, and use low volume music (preferably light classical) to mask the hum of any fans or other sound sources
10-Take a break!
All ergonomists agree that it’s a good idea to take frequent, brief rest breaks.
If you’re thinking about buying an “ergonomic product” ask yourself the following 4 questions:
1. Does the product design and the manufacturer’s claims make sense?
2. What research evidence can the manufacturer provide to support its claims? (Be suspicious of products that haven’t been studied by researchers.)
3. Does it feel comfortable to use the product for a long period? Some ergonomic products may feel strange or slightly uncomfortable at first because they often produce a change in your posture that’s beneficial in the long-term. Think of these products as being like new shoes that initially may feel strange but then feel comfortable after being used for a while. If a product continues to feel uncomfortable after a reasonable trail period (say at least a week) time then stop using it.
4. What do ergonomics experts say about the product? (If they don’t recommend it, don’t use it.)
There are many computer-related “ergonomic” products, the most common ones being:
Most of these are keyboards where the alphanumeric keys are split at an angle. For a non-touch typist, this design can be a disaster! The split design only addresses issues of hand ulnar deviation, and research studies show that vertical hand posture (wrist extension) is more important. There is no consistent research evidence that most of the split-keyboard designs currently available really produce any substantial postural benefits. For most people, a regular keyboard design works just fine if it’s put in the proper neutral position.
Many of these mice designs or alternative input device designs can work well to improve your hand/wrist posture. However, it’s important to check that you can use these with your upper arm relaxed and as close to your body as possible. Remember that overreaching to an “ergonomic mouse” defeats any benefits of this design.
These were very popular a few years ago, but research studies haven’t demonstrated any substantial benefits for wrist rests. In fact, a wrist rest can actually increase pressure inside the carpal tunnel by compressing the undersurface of the wrist. (Take a look at your wrist and you’ll probably see blood vessels that shouldn’t be compressed!) If you choose to use a wrist rest, using one with a broad, flat, firm surface design works best. Rest the heel of your palm on the surface, NOT your wrist. Try not to rest while you’re actually typing, but rest in between bursts of typing movements. Avoid soft and squishy wrist rests because these will contour to your wrist, restrict the freedom of movement of your hands, and encourage more lateral deviation during typing. The surface of a typical wrist rest that’s been used often erodes away, which means that the user has been sliding his or her wrists over the surface, compressing the blood vessels often visible at the wrist. Remember, your hands should be able to glide above the surface of a wrist rest during typing. Don’t lock them in place on the rest while you type.
There is no consistent research evidence that wearing wrist supports during computer use actually helps reduce the risk of injury. If you do like wearing a wrist support, make sure that it keeps your hand flat and straight, not bent upwards. There is some evidence that wearing wrist supports at night in bed can help relieve symptoms for those with carpal tunnel syndrome. Height adjustable, split work surfaces – With respect to wrist posture, the issues are the same for height-adjustable, split work surfaces and sit-stand work surfaces: • If the surface is too low, the hand will be in greater extension. • If the surface is too high, the elbow will be in sustained flexion. • If it’s a flat surface, then it’s just the same argument as is used above for a negative-slope keyboard tray arrangement.You can’t set a flat work surface at an appropriate height for all five main tasks of office work – keyboarding, using a mouse, writing, viewing documents and viewing the screen. These each require different heights for an optimal arrangement. A negative-slope keyboard tray system serves as the height and angle adjustment mechanism for the keyboard. Also, the mouse platform serves as the height and angle adjustment for the mouse when attached to a work surface that is set for writing height. Monitor height is best adjusted by a separate monitor pedestal rather than by trying to move a whole work surface.
Lounge-book: a Smart solution to prevent poor posture using Notebook and tablet at home.
We started the lounge-book project, with the target to find the most comfortable way to use digital device at home. We also have found answers to many ergonomics issues. Lounge-book was tested by AIRP “Italian Posturology Association” . AIRP is a Non-profit association that share experiences in the various branches of Posturology : such as ophthalmology, the gnathology, orthopedics, neurology. This review, is a significant opinion to highlight prevention of some diseases, caused from a wrong posture using laptop and tablets. “Lounge-book is More than a accessory for computer, it’s an aid to prevent postural defects. The incorrect position of those sitting at the PC is the enemy of our spine, expecially for who’s forced to stand still in a wrong posture for many hours. The Laptop causes the most issues of ergonomics, it does not allow easy adjustment of keyboard and screen, because these two elements are indivisible. This is unfortunately characteristic of these devices: if the screen is at eye level means that your wrists are facing up and after some time, may comes articulation disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome. If your wrists are parallel to the floor, means that the gaze is directed downward, pressing for the neck and causing disorders of the cervical spine as:
- cervical tension
- cervical brachalgia
- cervical disc arthrosis
- herniated cervical disc
What determines a pain in the spine, is the incorrect sitting POSTURE. A fixed chair with no adjustable elements is the cause of the alteration (reduction or enhancement) of the physiological curves of the spine and this favoring :
- low back pain
- lumbar sciatica
- lumbar disc herniation
Lounge-book was designed after research in ergonomics in order to reduce the risk of these diseases of the skeletal muscle. This simple and versatile accessory lets you use your PC in any area of your home or workplace, where, thanks to its structure, it is possible to adapt it to each location: in an armchair , sofa, on a chaise-longue and also on the bed. We can say as experts in posturology , that this device meets all the ergonomic features, in order to make the computer, less stressful and therefore more comfortable under physical and psychological factors”