Easy 3 Steps to Correct Laptop Posture
Last Updated on February 3, 2022 by Dr Timothy Lim
Not knowing the correct laptop posture can cause untold sorrows and pain if you are working from home or office on your laptops. We recommend you seek professional help from a chiropractor when you have neck or back pain, as following this tip may only help prevent neck or shoulder pain. This article will show you how to make simple modifications to achieve the correct posture for working on a laptop.
Table of Contents
- Correct Laptop Posture Can Prevent Hunch Back
- What Do Babies Have to Do with Correct Laptop Posture
- Step-By-Step Instruction for Best Posture for Laptop Use
Correct Laptop Posture Can Prevent Hunch Back
Most people are looking down too low when working on their laptops. Our natural human body is designed to stand upright. When sitting to do your work, the correct laptop posture is vital to discourage the body to hunch forward. In Figure 1 below, the model looks happy working on her laptop the posture even though it is less than ideal. She may be smiling now, but you can be sure that many hours later, she will not be smiling!
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the US Department of Labor listed a checklist for correct laptop posture or computer station. They recommend that the top of the monitor be at least at eye level to maintain the correct posture when using a laptop or monitor. I recommend that the middle of the screen be at eye level since most of the content is not at the top.
What Do Babies Have to Do with Correct Laptop Posture
Babies do tummy tucks to learn to lift their necks to develop the lordotic curve to keep their heads upright. It may take several months or years of tummy tucks and crawling on the ground to help develop this neck curve. Looking down at a laptop for long periods can straighten or reverse this lordotic curve. When the neck curve changes, it leads to a syndrome called Forward Head Posture (FHP), where the neck sticks out too far from the body, creating stiff and tight muscles at the back of the neck.
Step-By-Step Instruction for Best Posture for Laptop Use
Step 1: Determine if Your Table/Chair Combination is Too High
Most of you will find yourself using a fixed height table, such as a dining table. Unless you are incredibly tall, you will find the table is either just right or, most often, too high for you. How will you know if your laptop is too high? Begin by sitting upright with a slight arch in your lower back and both feet on the floor. Then place your forearm on the keyboard of your laptop.
If your table is too high, you will end up shrugging your shoulders up to compensate to reach for the laptop keyboard. Ideally, you want your elbows at the sides of your body. Your forearms should be at least parallel to the floor or slightly lower.
So what do you do if your table is too high for you? Go to Step 2 below.
Step 2: Adjust the Height of Your Chair
To correct for a table that is too high for you, you can either raise the height of your chair (for adjustable chairs) or add cushions or pillows to add height (for non-adjustable chairs). You want the chair high enough, so you don’t have to shrug your shoulders while you type. Be creative. Most people will find it challenging to raise the table height, but every bit will help. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. But try your best to get Step 3 right for the correct posture for working on a laptop. So what do you do if your table is too high for you? Go to Step 2 below.
Step 3: Adjust the height of the laptop
You may find the laptop screen is now even lower after raising your seat. Don’t panic. You are on the right track. The challenge here is to raise your laptop screen to eye level. Use whatever you can find to bring the laptop height to eye level.
Raise the laptop with books or boxes, so the top of the screen is at eye level. For the best results, I recommend you aim for the MIDDLE of the screen. Pick the most comfortable height. Check out how I build my laptop stand for better posture when working from home.
Practising this correct laptop posture will help keep your neck in a neutral, upright posture while your eyes scan up or down the laptop screen.
Finally, instead of using the laptop keyboard to type, an external USB or Bluetooth keyboard would undoubtedly help you type with your arms at your sides.
The above ergonomic suggestion is for the average person who uses the laptop for long hours. For some, making the above changes can improve your neck or back discomfort. But for some, it may be worse off because you may have some pre-existing condition that needs chiropractic care correction. Also, despite the best posture efforts, research shows prolonged sitting is quite stressful on your spinal discs. Hence, I recommend taking short breaks at least every hour to stretch, squats, perform cross crawls.