-- Alan Mozes
MONDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The very design of laptop
computers encourages bad posture among college students and other
heavy users, which can lead to headaches, muscle strain and
debilitating neck, shoulder and hand injuries, researchers
The issue stems from the unified body construction that defines
laptops, researchers at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at
Chapel Hill School of Medicine, explained in a university news
release. With an inseparable keyboard and monitor, users are not
free to configure their equipment in a way that minimizes risk.
"When you use a laptop, you have to make some sort of sacrifice," Dr. Kevin Carneiro, a physician in the UNC School of Medicine's department of physical medicine and rehabilitation, stated in the news release.
Such a sacrifice to convenience comes at a price, Carneiro
noted. Awkward positioning of the fingers and body can cause nerve
injury to the wrist and prompt the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome,
while poor neck position and shoulder posture can cause muscle
strain and soreness in those areas.
Signs of trouble typically come in the form of headaches, wrist
pain, tingling in the fingers or thumb, and neck and shoulder pain,
Concern about such laptop health issues is driven by their
rising popularity, as worldwide sales now exceed those of standard
desktop computers. Students are particularly vulnerable, since
laptops are a common feature of campus life.
That said, Carneiro and his colleagues point out that laptop
users can take specific steps to minimize their risk.
In addition, watch out for warning signs, including pain and
tingling. Carneiro said these may mean you need to use better
posture, take more breaks, or see a doctor.
For more on laptops and posture, visit the
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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