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HOLS (Hunched Over Laptop Syndrome)

If you use a laptop occasionally, or as part of your everyday work life, you will probably be aware of the aches and pains often experienced from hunching over to use your laptop.  This is commonly from the fact that the screen, keyboard and mouse are positioned compactly together for ease of transport, however not positioned for healthy and pain free necks and backs.

Hunching over unnecessarily loads the cervical and thoracic spine, protracts the shoulders forwards and positions the head further away from support.   Typical symptoms experienced may include neck and back pain, headache, jaw pain, arm pain, pins and needles/numbness and increase the risk of a repetitive strain injury.

Did you know that the more hunched you are positioned, the greater the load and the potential risk of injury becomes?  Typically the head weighs 4-6kg while positioned in a neutral seated or standing position.  As you hunch forward with your head, the relative weight of the head increases up to 25-30kg of load on the neck and spine.

One hot tip is to change your laptop position.  Try one or more of these adjustments.

  • Increase laptop height – propping the laptop up onto books, using an inverted stand or connecting the laptop up to an external monitor
  • External mouse/ keyboard – connecting an external mouse and keyboard
  • Take regular breaks from prolonged sitting

Sean Wickens, Physiotherapist, Evoker. 

For any questions related to this, or to discuss this particular problem in more detail, reach out to Sean at sean@evokerpps.com.au.