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Laptops are conve-
nient for people on
the move but research
shows that prolonged
periods of laptop use
are associated with
upper limb and/ or
spinal problems. This
is due to the combined
keyboard and screen
design which compro-
mises the spine or up-
per limb posture of the
That said it is often an
invaluable piece of
equipment and there
are some ways that
can make its use more
ergonomically sound :
For regular users on
the move or those that
use the laptop like a
desktop PC - invest in
a laptop kit, including
an adjustable laptop
stand, external mouse
and keyboard. Take
the time to connect
and use them.
Where possible, aim to
apply the same prin-
ciples as you would to
the set up of a desk-
top computer – such
as having your chair
at the correct height,
pushed right in under
the desk, forearms well
supported, correct
screen height (the top
of the active screen
at eye level, or a bit
lower) and position
(centrally positioned at
a comfortable distance
from your eyes).
When a desk is not
available try and avoid
using in cramped ar-
eas such as economy
class airline seats.
These will cause you
to hunch over your
Improvise where pos-
sible such as using
some books to raise
your laptop screen to
the correct height.
Take regular breaks
away from your laptop.
Carrying your laptop
There are many types of laptop bags and as
ever it is useful to spend time assessing your
personal needs.
The back pack :
Generally speaking our bod-
ies tolerate symmetrical loads much better
than asymmetrical ones. If your laptop is quite
heavy and you also have to carry paper docu-
ments then consider a back pack.
Wheeled / roller case:
If your laptop and equip-
ment is too heavy or too bulky then a wheeled/
roller case might be more suitable. This is es-
pecially helpful if you spend much time walking
or standing. Consider your mode of travel as it
is often the case that having to negotiate lots
of steps will require repetitive lifting which can
cause adverse stresses on your spine and up-
per limb.
A combination bag:
that allows your equip-
ment to be carried as a back pack yet also be
wheeled is often the best compromise.
A briefcase:
may be desirable if your laptop
is lightweight and you do not spend too much
time carrying it.