Keep Your Devices Off Your Lap
The number one tip we can give you for protecting your body from pain and damage from using your devices is to lift them off your lap as much as possible. Sometimes, you need to use your tablet or phone to send an email quickly, and that is probably not going to cause ongoing back and neck pain, but if you’re using a tablet or laptop for any period of time, avoid the temptation to just grab a comfy chair and type on your lap.
Instead, use a table. If you’re using a laptop, it will be easy to set it up to type on the table, but if you have a tablet, you might need to invest in a stand and a Bluetooth or wired keyboard to make it more ergonomic. If you must sit in a chair and keep the tablet or laptop on your lap, try using a cushion or pillow to raise it so you don’t have to bend your neck to look down.
If possible, keep the tablet higher than the keyboard to minimize the amount of time you’re looking down. This setup may be hard to manage when you’re working on the go.
Set It Down
Holding your tablet while you’re typing can cause pain in your hands and wrists. Try to use the tablet on a surface that allows you to type using more natural movements. Again, doing this once or twice a week for something quick is unlikely to be a problem, but if you find yourself holding your tablet in one hand and typing with the other frequently, consider finding a different solution.
Take a Break
Even the most ergonomic setup can become a source of repetitive stress injuries if you stay in the same position for a long time. Stand up. Stretch your neck and shoulders. Walk around and shake your arms. Look at an object across the room for a few minutes every half hour. Anything you can do to shift your position will benefit you, especially during a long day of performing the same work over and over.
Know When You Need Professional Help
If you haven’t been paying attention to your ergonomics — or if you’re just aging — you may already be experiencing some discomfort. Often, you can solve the issue by taking a break and changing your routine to be more ergonomic. You may also need to give typing a rest and try dictation for emails, text messages, and documents for a week or two.
However, if you’re in pain or the discomfort doesn’t go away after taking a break, you might need to see your doctor for help. You may benefit from a chiropractic adjustment or other body work. Or you might need to invest in some therapeutic devices to help relieve your pain. Your doctor will be able to create a treatment plan that will help you in conjunction with an ergonomic upgrade to ensure that you don’t continue to injure yourself.
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