Let’s be real; most people are either working from home, doing school from home, or are just accustomed to using digital devices. It’s no wonder whether or not to use a laptop stand is a rising topic! As a Chiropractor with a focus on Neuro-Kinesiology and Postural Neurology, my focus is posture and functional movement and I’m going to tell you how our use of digital devices impacts these things.
Using digital devices, unfortunately, pushes us into dysfunctional movements with aches and pains in our joints and muscles during movement. This then lands us in a Physical Therapy or Chiropractor office where these aches and pains are treated individually while they all are the ‘characters of the same story’, which I explain more about in this blog about The Secrets Behind Posture.
This blog will answer the most commonly asked questions such as:
- Is a laptop stand necessary?
- What laptop stand should I buy?
- Which laptop stand is best?
- How to make a laptop stand? and
- Where to buy a laptop stand?
The sedentary lifestyle of sitting at a desk parked behind a computer goes against how our bodies are designed to function. We are designed to move and using anything that ‘pins’ us down will have a negative impact. With that said, I suggest using a desktop, vs laptop, and laptop vs iPad. I prefer using a cellphone over an iPad because it is easier to bring the phone more at your eye level than it is with an iPad.
With that being said, let’s dive into how a laptop stand plays an important role when it comes to your ability to move in a functional manner.
Why Use a Laptop Stand?
You may be thinking that your laptop will stand by itself so why use a laptop stand? The answer is to bring it to your eye level. Where your eyes go, your head goes and by looking down at your laptop, you will be creating tension in the muscles of the back of your neck which causes the most common type of headache. This is known as a tension headache aka sub-occipital headache or cervicogenic headache. This only one of many reasons why you should use a laptop stand to bring your laptop to eye level.
Other than headaches, with an improper work environment comes a series of other issues related to the dysfunctional movement of your body! This includes but is not limited to:
- pain in between shoulder blades
- shoulder pain
- tension at the top of the shoulder
- lower back pain
- pain in the pelvis
- hip pain
- bulgy stomach
- hunch back
Is a Laptop Stand Necessary?
The answer is Yes! It is absolutely necessary. We know that once you get behind that laptop, you will be there for a while and not just for one day either. That means the damaging effect is going to accumulate and since we are trying to make the best of a bad thing, the need for a laptop stand is not questionable.
You can use a trash can as a laptop stand or even use a cooking pot as a laptop stand (seen in the image below)! What matters is to bring the middle of your laptop screen to your eye level. When using a laptop stand, trashcan, cooking pot, or whatever make sure you connect a separate keyboard and mouse to your laptop even though it comes with both.
This is important! The reason is that we are trying to make it as ergonomically sound as possible and that means the positioning of your hands, wrists, and elbows are important.
What Laptop Stand Should I Buy?
I like the laptop stands that have adjustable legs which I have seen on Amazon. What I do recommend is a laptop stand that closes and is sturdy but not too heavy so it is easily transportable.
Let’s talk about the pink elephant here!! It IS going to make your laptop carrier heavier BUT think of the long-term effects. You should never ever let that interfere with your decision to make your work ergonomically friendly. It is not worth the health risks including a lack of energy and focus which btw interfere with your work productivity!!
Which Laptop Stand is Best?
There are so many products out there but don’t get distracted by the looks or design as much as the basic necessities. Once again, you want a laptop stand that closes, has adjustable legs, is sturdy, light, and has a surface area that is big enough for your laptop. I prefer one with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to make it lighter to carry. I know how you may be thinking it is too much to carry BUT think of how with pain, everything will be heavy to carry- including your head on your neck!
How to Use a Laptop Stand?
Here is an ergonomic checklist that will allow you to see the importance of not just the laptop positioning but the keyboard and mouse as well. You should never try to cut corners and use the laptop keyboard because the amount of tension it creates in your neck and upper back will take weeks to truly undo. I suggest making the fonts bigger also so you don’t bring your neck forward to better see.
How to Make a Laptop Stand?
For the DIYers out there you can look around you to improvise the laptop stand as long as you don’t compromise getting a separate keyboard and mouse. As I am writing this blog, I have my separate keyboard and mouse but my laptop is actually sitting on a big cooking pot (shown in the photo to the right) that is just the perfect height for the middle of my laptop screen being at my eye level.
At my work, I use a desktop but have adjusted it to my size, using a couple of my old college books to prop it up. You can use a big ray and have foldable legs with hinges you can buy from HomeDepot if you want to save money, but I think it is worth buying an already manufactured one as long as the criteria I mentioned above is in place.
Where to Buy a Laptop Stand?
The last time I checked, Amazon had a nice list of laptop stands to choose from. If you have Siri or Alexa, maybe talk to yourself (so it can eves drop!) and mention you are looking for a laptop stand. Then wait until you get their ads. I actually know someone who did this for what she was looking for and ended up having a nice collection of deals to choose from!! I know it is strange but we all know how unless you have disabled Siri or Alexa, someone is invading your privacy!!
It really does not matter where you buy your laptop stand, as long as you get a separate, preferably wireless keyboard and mouse, and a stand that is light enough to carry but sturdy enough to have foldable and adjustable legs. If you have all that then you are good to go. Once again, use this checklist to make sure you set yourself up for success and not an ergonomic failure.
Remember, your body is at the mercy of the decisions you make so make wise choices to enjoy the health ahead.