If Your Client Has Neck Pain, Why they Should Never Use a Laptop?

Walking Around & Thinking About Neck Pain

It was Monday afternoon and I am outside walking with my son and dog while listening to the upcoming Exercise and Scoliosis CD. I was making my notes on the interview with Dr. Will Kalla. He commented that if university students who have scoliosis continue to have poor posture while studying and doing computer work, the poor posture will make their scoliosis worse.

It got me thinking about computers and laptops.

laptop neck pain

In the 90s, there was a huge push to redesign one’s desktop computer workstation in order to decrease carpal tunnel syndrome. There has been very little talk or information on how laptops affect the body. With laptop use on the rise, I could not find the number but I am sure it is 60% or more. I know in my house we have two laptops and one desktops. Some universities are reporting 85% laptop use by students.

While my son was having a nap, I decided to do a little research to see if there has been much research on laptops and posture. I was blown away to see that the only one I could find was from 1997. If you know of something more recent, please post a comment below.

Do you remember how big and heavy a laptop was in 1997?

Have you seen how small the laptops are that university students are using?

There may not be much research but the research got me thinking about my clients with neck pain.

I want to give you what you need to know specially for those who are using laptops who have greater neck flexion and head tilt than those who are using a desktop computer.

Greater Neck Flexion

Look at the muscle of the neck. They are small. With greater neck flexion or bringing your chest closer to your chin, more load it put on these muscles. If the muscles can’t hold the load then the force gets put on the ligaments and other non-contractile tissues of the neck. If you have injured your neck, you don’t need more force put on it.

Greater Head Tilt

When using a laptop, you get greater movement at the top of your cervical spine or neck. This great tilt leads to more load on the spine. Once again, if you have a neck injury, you don’t need to be putting more load or force on it.

The take home message, if you have a laptop and neck pain, don’t use it in your lap. Using a laptop leads to more head tip and neck flexion. This puts more force or load on your neck. An increase in force on your injuried neck will keep things irritated and slows down your clients’ recovery from a neck injury. When you are talking with your client and asking them what they do, make sure you ask if they use a laptop if they have a neck injury.

Enough reading and typing. My son is already awake. I got to get back into the sun.

Feel free to comment on this blog post. Add a research that you know about or add your own stories.

If you want to learn simple step-by-step guide that will finally end your neck pain, then check out the Neck Pain Solved program here:

Neck-Pain-Solved-Program

Thank you for reading.

Rick Kaselj, MS

Reference: A comparison of the postures assumed when using laptop computers and desktop computers. Straker L, Jones KJ, Miller J. Appl Ergon. 1997 Aug;28(4):263-8.

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2 Comments

  1. hi Rick,
    I am a pilates teacher and am so glad that I found your site.
    You truly have been able to answer so many of my client’s questions.
    I used to live in Vancouver and now live here in Ontario.
    I would be at many of your courses if I did live there.
    Your site has really helped me a lot.
    Thanks so much.
    Janey

    [Reply]

  2. Hey Rick,
    this is completely true. When I am working at my workstation I plug in a seperate keyboard and mouse and put the laptop on a riser so that the monitor lifts up in line with my eyesight more.

    People still have to think about the basic ergonomics even with a lep top and for extended work on them must add periperal devices – screens, keyboards and a mouse.

    Good luck with your presentation.

    Nikki Layton
    http://www.myvolo.com
    http://www.mfit.ca

    [Reply]

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