Sunday, February 15, 2009

A pain in the neck?

I have recently discovered something truly horrific. Something that has affected me to the very depths of my soul and shaken my core beliefs. I have discovered that - the laptop is not my friend!

For the past 6 years I have believed that my laptop was my best friend. We've practically been joined at the hip.

Coincidentally, for 5 of these 6 years I've had increasingly bad neck and shoulder pains. But, of course, I could never in my wildest dreams imagine that my laptop was responsible. Not the companion that gave me so much joy - we checked email together, visited Facebook for hours, saw movies, heard music and, recently, even entered the exciting world of Blogging hand in hand.

But now I find out that my laptop has been lying to me all along. We never were friends. It's probably been laughing at me behind my back all these years. Oh! the treachery of it all.

Apparently, there is no 'good' way to use the laptop. Not without putting strain on either your neck/shoulders or your wrist (I do have intermittent wrist pains at well...sigh...the duplicity). I tend to use the laptop while it's, well, while it's on my lap. That is what the name suggests, right?

Wrong! Apparently this is the worst possible way to use the laptop (it must have been some advertising whizkid who came up with the name). While your wrists may be okay in this position - since your forearms and hands are in a straight line - it is awful for the neck, as your neck is constantly bent in an unnatural position.

If, on the other hand, you decide to raise your laptop so that you can look at it with a straight neck, well then your wrists will be bent at an awkward angle, resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome.

Many people, especially kids, lie down and use laptops which is leading to increasing lower back pains in children. Computer companies seem to be aware of the problem and new ergonomic devices like the iFold or Laptop Laidback are flooding the market. But I haven't yet come across one that actually helps.

The only viable option open to me seems to be to limit the amount of time I spent with my laptop. From 6-8 hours a day, I have now restricted out "together time" to a maximum of 2 hours.

Until a laptop is invented that has greater distance between the screen and the keyboard, it seems like the relationship between my laptop and I will have to be demoted from BFFs to mere acquaintances.


  1. Waahhhhh! I just moved from a desktop to a laptop because I'm more comfortable with the laptop. Waahhh! 2 hours a day? No way.

  2. Those are the breaks...I'm sorry for being the bearer of bad tidings :(

  3. Utter nonsense. There's no such thing as CTS. Next you'll be saying
    there's something called Global Warming....

    Ok, seriously, there are things you can do other than the iFold.
    I had a friend that used a pretty funky keyboard. My boss has CTS,
    and she uses a weird looking mouse. And you can have a projector hooked up to the laptop. Wall space in your house, however, is
    an entirely different matter.


  4. I know but all that is such a hassle...I just wanna sit on my couch and play that too much to ask for???! :P

  5. the old school way of a desk and a desktop still rocks...!!!


  6. Sorry to hear you've had so much pain. I discovered long ago that time spent in front of the computer (any computer) is tiring for me. It's gotten better as the rest of my symptoms have improved this year, but I still know I need to limit my computer time if I'm feeling bad.

    As for the laptop, I use mine on a lap desk (squishy fabric on the bottom, hard on the top) while sitting in my husband's recliner with my feet up and my head well-supported. This is where I do most of my writing.

    Sorry you're feeling bad!


  7. i have had the same problem - more with neck and shoulders rather that CTS. i have hooked up a desktop monitor and keyboard to my laptop, and also added a keyboard tray to my table. then i raised the height of the monitor by putting a book under it and lowered the height of my chair. this is still better than using a full fledged desktop bec i still have portability when i want it.

  8. Thanks for the suggestion, Sue. I think I'll try that.

    Arkaja, I know that what you're doing is prbly the best idea, but i cant sit on a desk n chair for too long - get tired :(

    I think Kallu got it right though - a laptop was never meant to be a replacement for a PC...we just use it as one!