Is Your Laptop Giving You a Pain in the Neck??

Today’s technology has brought remarkable benefits, greater efficiency, and productivity … and lots of neck pain. Whether you’re sitting at a desk staring at a desktop monitor, bent over a laptop in an airport waiting lounge or seat on a train, or peering down at your smartphone, there’s a good chance it’s leading to strain in the muscles of your neck, headache, even numbness in the fingers. The problems that laptop use causes are no small cause for concern. The poor posture can end up leading to long-term injury.

According to experts, the convenience that our laptops provide come at a cost. The combination of keyboard and monitor mean that you can’t maintain the 90-degree angle that is possible with a computer monitor, and the poor posture leads to pain. It’s a problem that I see a lot as a cervical spine specialist in New Jersey.

So, what can you do about it?

There are a few things, starting with a few gadgets you can purchase to help avoid the postural problems. Consider a small investment in these helpful tools:

• Laptop stand – The top of your laptop monitor’s screen should ideally be in a direct line with your eyes, and that’s clearly not happening when you are using it on your lap, or even at a normal sized desk. A laptop screen can overcome this problem. You’ll find it makes a big difference.
• Bluetooth keyboard and mouse – Of course, once you’ve lifted your laptop up to a good height for your eyes, you are no longer able to touch its keys, or its track pad. A Bluetooth keyboard and mouse are both lightweight, available at a low cost, and address the problem.

Of course, these solutions only answer a small fraction of the problems that laptop use presents. When you’re not seated at a desktop or are away from your workplace and don’t have these tools at hand, there are other things you can do to minimize the risk of neck pain. These include:

• Making sure that you have support for your lower back. By making sure that you have something tucked behind your lumbar arch, you help ensure a better overall posture. If you don’t have a pillow made specifically for this purpose, even a rolled-up magazine or jacket will do.
• Get up and move around, especially if you are in a bad position. Get into the habit of taking a break every 20 minutes or so. By doing a few shoulder rolls, bending over to touch your toes, and doing a few twists, you work your muscles and put them back into their natural position. There are also exercises you can do to strengthen your neck muscles.

Most importantly, if you find that you are experiencing neck pain, headaches, or tingling fingers on a constant basis, it is time to seek the help of a cervical spine specialist in New Jersey. Call our office today to set up a convenient time to come in for an appointment.

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