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The Hidden Perils of Working on a Laptop

30 May 2023

Are you one of the millions of people who spend countless hours working on a laptop daily? If so, you must be familiar with the convenience and features that make it easy to work on such a device.

Laptops allow you to access your work from any location and can come in handy for those who travel a lot. But, as with any tool, they can be hazardous if used incorrectly. Working on a laptop for extended periods can lead to serious health risks and potential damage to the device itself. Let's examine some of the hidden dangers of working on a laptop.



Poor Posture

Most people are familiar with the health problems associated with poor posture––neck pain, shoulder stiffness, and headaches. But what many don't realize is that their laptop can be a major contributor to these issues.

The typical laptop user sits hunched over in an uncomfortable position for prolonged periods, straining their upper body muscles and joints. This causes neck, shoulders, back, and spine tension, leading to chronic pain if not addressed.

Unfortunately, it's not just a case of standing up and stretching now and then; laptops make it difficult to sit in an ergonomic position that allows your spine to maintain its natural curve while using the device. This can be exacerbated when using an external mouse and keyboard, as it requires you to crane your neck forward and down to use them properly.

The screen size and weight of laptops can also cause concern. To keep the laptop close enough to see the screen clearly, it's necessary to hunch over, which puts strain on the neck. The laptop's combined weight and accessories make it difficult to hold in place, causing more muscle strain as you try to support it with your arms.



Repetitive Stress Injuries

Repetitive or prolonged movements cause RSIs. They can affect both laptop and desktop users, but it is particularly important to be aware of their symptoms when using a laptop due to how laptops have been designed. Here are some of the common RSIs caused by laptops.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

This condition affects the median nerve, which runs through the wrist. Symptoms include numbness or tingling in the thumb, index, and middle fingers, which can be aggravated by typing or using a mouse for extended periods.

De Quervain's Tenosynovitis (DQT)

De Quervain's tenosynovitis is an inflammation of two tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. It causes pain when making certain movements with your thumb and wrist, such as gripping objects or making a fist. It can occur when using the trackpad on a laptop for long periods without resting your wrist on a surface

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome (CuTS)

CuTS puts pressure on the ulnar nerve at the elbow joint, causing pain, tingling, and numbness in the forearm and hand. It can be caused by prolonged elbow flexion, such as when your arms are resting on a laptop for an extended period.

Wrist Tendinitis

This is an inflammation of the tendons in the wrist joint, which can cause pain and difficulty when moving the wrist. It is usually caused by repetitive movements that strain the wrist joint, such as typing or using a mouse.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome (TTS)

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome but affects the tibial nerve instead of the median nerve. Symptoms include shooting pains, burning sensations, and numbness in the foot and ankle. Prolonged use of a laptop on your lap can cause this condition.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)

TOS is compression of the nerves and blood vessels in the thoracic outlet, located between the collarbone and first rib. Symptoms include neck, shoulder, and arm pain, numb fingers, and tingling sensations. Prolonged use of a laptop while hunched forward can cause this syndrome.



Eye Strain

It's undeniable that laptops have revolutionized the way we work. But unfortunately, for all their convenience, working on a laptop can also be hard on our eyes. The risk of developing eye strain is just one of the unwelcome side effects of spending hours staring at a screen every day.

So what is eye strain exactly? It's not one specific condition but rather a group of symptoms caused by prolonged exposure to digital screens like those found in laptops. Those who suffer from it might experience headaches, burning sensations in the eyes, blurred vision, dry eyes, and general fatigue.

Laptops can cause eye strain due to several factors that together create a perfect storm for our vision. For starters, laptop screens are usually smaller than desktop computers and require intense focus, which can lead to squinting. In addition, they often lack proper anti-glare technology, which can lead to additional stress on the eyes.

Users tend to sit closer to their laptop screens than they would with a desktop setup, resulting in increased exposure to blue light emitted by the screen. All these things combined can take a major toll on our vision over time.



Overheating

Overheating is one of the most common causes of laptop malfunction and is usually caused by incorrect use. In some cases, laptops can overheat due to hardware-related problems, but more often than not, it's due to user error.

One way wrong usage can cause overheating is if the laptop is placed on an uneven surface or in a cramped space that doesn't allow proper ventilation. When this happens, the fan won't be able to cool down the components inside, which will eventually heat up to dangerous levels.



Using Laptops the Correct Way

Now that we've gone over some potential dangers of using laptops incorrectly, let's ensure you know how to use them correctly.

Ensure you position your keyboard properly to keep your wrists and arms safe while typing on a laptop. Your elbows should be bent at an angle of 90 degrees, and the height of your shoulders should remain relaxed. You may also want to invest in an ergonomic wrist rest which will provide extra support for your hands and wrists while working.

When it comes to eye strain, there are several measures you can take to reduce its severity or even prevent it altogether. For starters, try increasing the font size on your documents so that you don't have to squint to read them. You can also reduce your time looking at your laptop's screen by taking regular breaks throughout the day or using a blue light filter.

Finally, it would help if you keep your laptop in an area with proper ventilation so as not to cause overheating. With all these tips in mind, you should be able to use your laptop without fear of experiencing any of these adverse effects. Just remember that laptops are meant for convenience and productivity, not long-term comfort!



Motorized AlcoveRiser EM7

One of the best ways to mitigate the risks of using a laptop is to invest in a desk converter. If you are looking for a top-quality desk converter, the Motorized AlcoveRiser EM7 is an excellent option. This model is made from durable materials and can support up to 44 pounds.

The Motorized AlcoveRiser EM7 has many features that make it an excellent choice for a desk converter. These include:

A built-in motor allows you to adjust the height of the converter with the push of a button. It can be adjusted at any height between 5.7 and 19.7 inches.

Excellent Stability thanks to the sturdy bracing system and X-lift structure that ensures the EM7 remains stable even when lowering or raising at full capacity

A spacious desktop that is 36 inches wide and 16.3 inches deep. This gives you plenty of room to work. It can easily hold two 21.5-inch monitors and still have room for more accessories.

The Motorized AlcoveRiser EM7 is also designed to be ergonomic, allowing for a comfortable sitting position while using the laptop. The design of the EM7 also allows for effortless height adjustments, so you can change your setup quickly if needed.

Overall, investing in an ergonomic desk converter like the Motorized AlcoveRiser EM7 is a great way to improve your laptop setup and ensure you stay comfortable while working. It will help prevent strain on your wrists and neck, reduce eye fatigue, and provide enough space for your workspace accessories. So if you're looking for a way to make your laptop more ergonomic, this could be the perfect solution.

Final Thoughts

The hidden perils of working on a laptop are real and should not be taken lightly. It is up to the user to effectively manage their time spent in front of the screen and ensure that they have proper ergonomics. Taking regular breaks, using blue light filters, and keeping your laptop in an area with good ventilation can all help to reduce potential risks associated with prolonged use.

Ignoring the dangers of improper laptop use can result in short-term and long-term medical conditions, which can be avoided by taking simple steps to correct your posture, and position of the laptop. So do yourself a favor and take extra precautions – your health will thank you later!