Laptop Use Can Lead to Physical Ailments

Incorrect posture and computer overuse can cause debilitating physical problems, such as sore muscles or repetitive stress injuries. Typing can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome.

Kevin Carneiro, DO, a doctor in the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) School of Medicine, stated that when you work at a computer, your body should form 908 angles at your elbows, knees and hips. Meanwhile, your eyes should look straight ahead at the top third of the screen.

But because the keyboard and monitor are combined in a laptop, they can not be positioned independently for typing and viewing.

“When you use a laptop, you have to make some sort of sacrifice,” Carneiro stated in a press release.

Most laptop users end up with incorrect neck or shoulder posture, he said, which can lead to muscle pain in those areas.

The problem is likely to become more widespread as many universities, including UNC-Chapel Hill, now require first-year students to purchase laptops.

In 2008, global sales of laptops surpassed that of desktop computers for the first time, according to iSuppli, a market research firm based in El Segundo, Calif.

For frequent laptop users, Carneiro said the ideal solution is to use a docking station. The station links a laptop to another monitor and keyboard or to a stand that raises the screen to a higher level. You can also use a FireWire or USB cable to connect your laptop to an extra monitor or keyboard, which you can then adjust to the proper height.

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