“A condition where suddenly moving to home-based work on a laptop results in neck pain”
Laptopitis has been rife in our community since about late March 2020. Seemed to coincide with some other stuff going on in the world!
It is triggered by a few different things:
Sudden change in work and posture conditions
Lack of outside activity as there is a reduced travel need and also less general movement
Laptops are such a useful item for getting work done, but there are a few things about them that tend to lead to laptopitis
- Lower screen height
- Arms lean on table (often kitchen table – designed to eat from for a meal, not work from for 8 hours a day)
- Documents are often kept on the desk beside them – meaning every position involves a forward flexion movement of the neck.
So what is the cure of laptopitis?
The great thing about this condition is the ease of it’s cure. Whilst we are all fairly housebound currently due to Coivd-19; there are no restrictions to getting out and exercising! So it is a great thing that this is a key fix of laptopitis. I would recommend some exercise where you move your body and arms a reasonable amount, such as a brisk walk or run, or possibly a gym workout utilising arms and thoracic rotation.
An ergonomic assessment focusing on screen and document position can also be important to improving your likelihood of injury. In particular, screen height and keyboard position are vital to ensuring your neck and shoulders are positioned correctly, and I do believe that having a separate keyboard and screen lifter is necessary to ensure better posture.
Reducing head tilt position by investing in quality speakers and microphones and actually using them is also important, as is having a quality document holder if you are constantly glancing over documents for your work at home.
It is important to remember if you are doing long hours at home, that ensuring your “work space” is treated as such is vital to ensuring you are most efficient and least likely to be causing yourself injury. So don’t surround yourself with dirty dishes or do too much work sitting on the couch.
Stay safe out there!