I don’t know if I should call it the pandemic back pain or if I just am getting older and there is a need to normalise aches and pains. But I do sometimes think about how our relationship with devices affects our health. I realised this after a while when the pain in my neck, mid-back and lower back got worse. Working from home since March 2020.…sitting in front of the laptop and repeatedly ignoring my mother’s advice to take mini breaks has only made things worse.
Finally, after months of experiencing back pain, I took the advice of an orthopaedic surgeon who suggested changing my lifestyle and investing in a better home workspace. So, I recently started using the Portronics ‘My Buddy K5’, a laptop stand that helps me maintain a much better posture at my desk. It’s not a high-tech gadget but yes, it’s definitely something that can protect your back, neck, and arms from laptop-itis.
I wasn’t aware of it until I figured out that I was using my laptop completely wrong. Since I spent hours in front of the laptop—I am trying very hard to switch it off once I am done for the day, but you know that’s not easy—I started developing an aching neck and throbbing head. Overuse of computers and incorrect body posture can cause an increase in back pain, which I have experienced first-hand in the past few months.
Meanwhile, typing can cause carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), a condition that affects the hand and wrist. This is why it is advised that your body should form 90-degree angles at your elbows, knees and hips, and your eyes should look straight ahead at the top third of the screen. The chair and table we use and how high our computer screen is are also important factors we need to keep in mind but we ignore these things and would rather find comfort in working on the couch or on our bed.
Before I started using the Portronics ‘My Buddy K5’, I had no appreciation for laptop stands. I thought a laptop stand is a mere accessory to show off your device. I was wrong. Not only does it reduce clutter on the desk and optimise space but also adds to the overall vibe of the workspace. The Portronics-made laptop stand looks and feels solid. It’s made of anodised aluminum and is sturdy enough to lift your MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. It matches the Apple aesthetics, and if you use a MacBook Air like me then you will like this minimalistic laptop stand. The premium-looking stand can fit 13-inch to 17-inch laptops and is designed to cool your laptop in case of overheating after prolonged use.
It took me 10-12 minutes to set up the ‘My Buddy K5’ laptop stand. You can refer to how to assemble the laptop stand on the back of the packaging. Once done, it’s simple to use. An adjustment knob raises and lowers the height and angle of your laptop. The stand is tilted slightly forward to bring your laptop closer, and small rubber pads grip each corner to keep it in place. ‘My Buddy K5’ stand is stable and during my tests, I haven’t noticed my laptop wobble or slip. If you are travelling for work and want to take the laptop stand with you, you can simply disassemble it in order to fit it into a bag, a backpack, or a luggage bag.
After a day or two of using the laptop stand, I won’t say my back pain went all away but it hurts less. The idea behind a laptop stand is rather simple: it raises the screen to a higher level and positions it directly in front of your eyes on your desk. The elevated position is ideal for video chats with a natural camera angle.
Although this kind of setup isn’t ideal for typing on your laptop’s keyboard, when attached to an external keyboard and mouse, the raised position works well. That’s with every laptop stand as they are not designed to be typed on.
After using the Portronics ‘My Buddy K5’, I realised that laptop ergonomics is important for one’s well-being. You have to make a choice whether you want to invest Rs 2999—that’s how much you have to pay for ‘My Buddy K5’—on a laptop stand. The choice is yours. You can always use a stack of books and make your own DIY laptop stand. My advice is to at least consider a laptop stand with adjustable height and premium looks.