If you do a lot of typing, consider purchasing an ergonomic computer keyboard. With it, you will save your hands and wrists from unnecessary pain and discomfort.
Conventional keyboards force you to keep your fingers, arms and hands in unnatural positions for long periods that can cause tension in muscles, tendons and joints. Working in this unnatural position for a long time can lead to physical discomfort that cause various forms of Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI). RSI is caused by repetitive movements and overuse which can affect the whole body.
There are many ergonomic designs available, all with the aim of promoting a healthy posture. Some are curved, V-shaped, or divided in the middle of the keypad with one block for the left hand and another for the right hand.
Working with an ergonomic keyboard in an ergonomic posture while on the computer can help to prevent discomfort in the fingers, wrists, forearms and shoulders.
Benefits of Ergonomic Keyboard
An ergonomic keyboard provides benefits such as:
With an ergonomic keyboard, you get more space for your wrists to relax on the middle of the keyboard. Your fingers are closer to the keys, and your hands use smaller effort and movement when typing for long hours.
For suggestions for an ergonomic keyboard or to achieve an optimal ergonomic workstation, it is important to hire a Specialist to examine your current workplace. At Accredited Rehabilitation Consultants, we can evaluate your current workspace, find ways to make it more ergonomic, and then provide and install the necessary equipment to do so. To learn more, contact us today!
The design of the laptop computer inherently violates a basic ergonomic design requirement, the keyboard and screen are integrated. In the early days of personal computing, desktop devices integrated the screen and keyboard into a single unit. This resulted in widespread complaints of musculoskeletal discomfort. By the late 1970’s a number of ergonomics design guidelines were written and all called for the separation of screen and keyboard. The reason is simple – with a fixed design, if the keyboard is in an optimal position for the user, the screen isn’t and if the screen is optimal the keyboard isn’t. Consequently, the laptop computer is excluded from current ergonomic design requirements, because none of the designs satisfy this basic need. This means that you need to pay special attention to how you use your laptop computer, because it can cause you problems.
Laptop Computer User Type – the first thing to consider is: how do you use your laptop? Are you an occasional user who works on your laptop for short periods of time or a full-time user with the laptop as your main computer? Using a laptop computer is a trade-off between poor neck posture / head posture and poor hand posture / wrist posture. All users should pay some attention to how they use their laptop. But, occasional users will have fewer risks of problems than full-time users. That is why we provide tips for both part-time and full-time laptop computer users.
Occasional Users – because the neck position / head position is determined by the actions of large muscles, you are better off sacrificing neck posture rather than wrist posture. For occasional use:
Find a chair that is comfortable and in which you can sit back.
Position your laptop computerin your lap for the most neutral wrist posture that you can achieve.
Angle the laptop screen so you can see it with the least amount of neck posture deviation.
Full-time Users – if you use your laptop at work as your main computer you should:
Position the laptop computer on your desk/worksurface in front of you, so that you can see the screen without bending your neck. This may require elevating the laptop off the desk surface using a stable support surface, such as a computer monitor pedestal.
Use a separate keyboard and mouse. You should be able to connect a keyboard and mouse directly to the back of the laptop or to a docking station.
Use the keyboard on a keyboard tray to ensure a wrist neutral posture.
Use the mouse on an adjustable position mouse platform.
Laptop Computer Dimensions – many laptops offer large screens (15″ plus) and can work as desktop replacements (giving the viewing area of a 17″ monitor). However, think about where you will use your laptop most to help you choose the best size. The larger the screen the more difficult it will be to use a laptop computer in mobile locations (e.g., airplane, car, train). There are a number of smaller notebooks and ultraportable laptops on the market. Consider issues of screen size and screen resolution. A small screen (e.g., 12.1″) will be useful in mobile settings. But, if the resolution is high (e.g., XGA – 1024 x 768), make sure that you can read the screen characters and can easily use the input device to point to areas on the screen. The smaller the laptop, the smaller the keyboard, so make sure that you can comfortably type on a keyboard that may be only 75% the size of a regular keyboard.
Laptop Computer Weight – if you are a mobile professional who will be frequently transporting your laptop, think about the weight of the system. By the word ‘system’, I mean the weight of the laptop plus the required accessories (e.g., power supply, spare battery, external disk drive, zip drive, CD-RW, DVD, etc.). Many lightweight portables can become as heavy as regular laptops when the weight of all of the components is added. If your laptop and components weigh 10 lbs or more, you should consider using a carry-on bag that you can pull along. If you want a smaller bag and can comfortably carry your laptop, consider a good shoulder bag design.
Best Ergonomic Solutions for Use of a Laptop Computer
If at all possible, use a laptop docking station, because these devices let you plug in your laptop to a base station that has a monitor, keyboard and mouse already connected. The next best ergonomic solution, if a laptop docking station is either out of your budget or impractical is to have a separate keyboard and mouse at the desk. This allows you to place the laptop at the correct monitor position (to help with head posture / neck posture) and use a comfortable keyboard and mouse that you can put in the best position to prevent injuries that may result from poor wrist posture / hand posture.