There is no doubt that technology has made our lives easy, but it has also brought its share of problems. As we spend an increasing amount of time at our desks, our bodies have taken a beating due to lack of physical activity. A laptop or computer hunch is one such posture-related health issue which is affecting a large section of the corporate workforce.
The medical term for laptop hunch is postural kyphosis, which is usually the result of bad posture. It refers to a spinal curve that creates a rounded appearance in the back.1 A mild case of postural kyphosis will produce only a slight hunch, whereas a severe case may cause deformity, nerve problems, and pain. There are a few easy steps you can follow to avoid a laptop hunch.
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1. Keep Your Back Straight
This one is a no-brainer but the very reason you get a laptop hunch is because you don’t sit upright when working on your computer. By consciously sitting straight, you can avoid strain on your lower back and stop your upper back from getting hunched. Also remember to keep your shoulders back and relaxed.
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2. Pay Attention To Your Office Ergonomics
If you need to hunch while working at your desk, it’s likely that your office setup needs a second look. Make sure your chair provides enough lumbar (lower spine) support. Most office chairs come with an adjustable height mechanism. Use it adjust your seating height so that your monitor is slightly below eye level and your hands move comfortably on the keyboard at a 90-degree angle from your arms.
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3. Avoid Sitting For Too Long
Your body has been designed for movement. Sitting for too long is not the most efficient way to use it. But since your job requires you to be at your desk all day, you can add a little movement by taking short, frequent breaks. If you have a large office, just take a stroll on your office floor or climb up and down a couple of flight of stairs. If that sounds too difficult, the least you can do is stand up from your seat and give yourself a good stretch every once in a while.
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4. Engage In Physical Activity
Physical exercise need not mean going to the gym and running on the treadmill or lifting weights. Find an activity you enjoy like basketball, power yoga, or dancing, and do it 3 to 5 times a week for 30 minutes. Any form of exercise or physical activity engages your back and can help you prevent back pain. You can even do specific yoga postures at home that are aimed at strengthening the back. However, do make sure to first learn the right postures from a certified yoga trainer.
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5. Use A Standing Desk
Not all offices have a standing desk but it might be worth your while to talk to your management to install a few standing desks at work. Working on a stand-up desk for some time can offset the time you spend sitting. Adding standing time can ease the pressure on your back and prevent your body from freezing into a sitting posture.
It may not be easy to escape the 8-hour desk job but making small changes at work can help you prevent injury to your spine. There are several resources online that can help you learn exercises targeted at making your back stronger. If you already have back pain or spinal injury, consult your doctor first before starting back exercises.
|↑1||A Patient’s Guide to Adult Kyphosis. The University of Maryland Medical Center.|