By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer
Massage therapists see many people with neck and shoulder pain. In the U.S., a large proportion of people either work at a computer all day. A pain pattern I see commonly from those that place their keyboards far away from the edge of the desk and set papers in front of them on the desk before the keyboard. Then they lean far over the paper to type. This can result in tight and painful muscles in the middle of the back.
An easy and inexpensive fix for this is to buy a document holder and use it to stand your papers or books upright, at a slight angle so that you can see your documents and still have your keyboard closer to you as you type. I’ve provided a list of the best document stands I could find on Amazon below.
Jasmine Book Stand (Bookstand / Bookstands / Holder / Cookbook / Music)
$29.99 at Amazon click here.
Amazon reviewers say:
• This book stand is so amazing! As a graduate student, it has made all the difference in the world with my reading and research. It makes it much easier to take notes; it can accommodate quite thick books; it is very sturdy; and, it is a great size. My reading and note taking are happening with greater ease and speed. This is a wonderful product! C roberts
• I have degenerative disc disease in my cervical spine and I can hold my head in only one direction for longer than 5 minutes–straight ahead. I am a student and have a lot of reading to do. This bookstand has saved me a lot of pain and discomfort, allowing me to maintain good posture while I study. I highly recommend this product to anyone with neck pain. j hunter
• I’m a nursing student, and I got this stand because I was getting neck aches from studying so much. This stand put a prompt end to that! It is sturdy, easy to use, and it works well at my computer desk for my online class. I can easily set my book at a 45 degree angle to my computer screen and a bit to the side, and I can see the screen, the textbook, and have my binder open in front of my screen to follow along during a lecture. It is lightweight and stores fairly flat, too. I love it! R H May
• I use this bookstand in front of my computer at work to hold file folders while I type letters and reports, etc. It’s excellent for this. Some of the files can be a little thick and heavy; this book stand holds up. It’s made much better than the one I had before that was made from plastic and had bent under the weight of the files over time. I don’t see that happening with this stand. I do wish the tray was slightly deeper to hold even thicker files (or books), but overall I’m very happy with it. In spite of its strength, it is very light weight, but a little bulky if you plan to carry it around with you a lot. I would definitely recommend this book stand to my family and friends. SS
• This is a steal for $30. The best part is the smooth surface finish and the solid feel of the assembly. The main hinge assembly is made of black plastic, but it is very rigid and the screws are metal. Another great feature is that the stand folds up flat so that you can put it in a backpack or a large notebook bag. I went to the library today and whipped it out onto a desk. The clips that hold the pages in place are nice too: firm enough to keep the pages down but not too strong so as to be a nuisance when turning pages. I’m definitely recommending this to all my friends who are students or who are serious readers. Mpay
Fellowes Kopy-Aid Black Letter Copyholder (11053)
$24.88 at Amazon, click here.
I like this stand because its affordable and because it’s metal, it is most likely easier to write on if you need to take notes.
Amazon reviewers say:
• Top of the line document holder. I use the Fellowes Kopy-Aid both at home and work. I’d be lost without it. I do accounting and bookkeeping entries and nothing beats the moveable magnetic line guide. I highly recommend the Fellowes Kopy-Aid. J. Ferrero “MontanaJoe”
• I purchased this after my plastic on broke for the second time. It is very stable and won’t be likely to break or turn over like the ones I have used previously. I like the way the magnetic line guide fits at the side. Easy to use on one sheet or 20 semi-rumpled sheets. Patricia Adcock
• This item was pretty sturdy and help avoid a stiff neck when copying something. It was delivered on time and in good condition. The price is right. Edgardo P. Yamsuan
Portabook Message Board and Multifunctional Book and Laptop Stand (Light Gray)
Price on Amazon $12.99 click here.
Amazon reviewers say:
• This is the 4th or 5th Portabook I’ve purchased. I recommend them to massage clients and give them to friends and family. The Portabook is lightweight and easy to pack into a backpack along with laptop. It holds books, papers and lap taps easily. A set of coated rubber bands holds large books or a laptop keyboard in place. Using the Portabook relieves neck and shoulder pain caused by looking down at papers and books. It can also be used to hold a laptop at an angle that is easier to viewing the screen. However, it’s best to plug-in an extended keyboard in this setup or you ave to type with your arms up to your shoulders!
We only broke one Portabook after 2 years of constant use. For such an inexpensive and lightweight product 2 years of use is pretty good. I highly recommend the Portabook if you want an easy way to hold books and papers at an angle while you read. Wellness Woman
Roberts 732310000 Book Holder
$35.25 at Amazon click here.
Fellowes Flex Arm Weighted Base Copyholder Platinum/Graphite
$26.23 at Amazon, click here.
I am leery of this stand but it does offer the flexibility of allowing you to position your document where its easiest for you to view. the down side is that the stand takes up a lot of room and that these types of arms tend to be flimsy and break often as noted by Amazon reviewers.
- Ergonomic Help for iPad Users (workingwellresources.com)
- Ow, My Back! Test Your Workspace Ergonomics (And Save Your Back) (blogs.sitepoint.com)
- Get your stiff neck and shoulder pain release here right now! (massageandmind.wordpress.com)