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Office Computer Use: Protecting Against Neck and Back Pain

Office Computer Use: Protecting Against Neck and Back Pain
September 11, 2017 gnuworld
neck back pain desk work

A large percentage of modern jobs involve long hours of computer use – and this can take its toll on the body. Common complaints include neck and back pain, headaches and tired, irritated eyes.

Whether you work for yourself or for a large corporation, there are small adjustments you can make to minimise the stress that computer work puts on your spine.

Screen positioning tips

If you have to angle your head back and up, crane your neck forward or lean forward in your chair to see what’s on your monitor, the display is in the incorrect position. This could put unnecessary strain on your neck and back.

Tips for ideal screen positioning differ slightly according to the type of device you’re using.

Laptop positioning

Tilt the screen to the appropriate angle, but ensure you don’t pick up any glare from windows or lights. You should be looking directly at the display, and the top of the screen should be just above your eye level.

If you do a lot of typing, it’s strongly recommended that you get an external keyboard. This will allow ergonomic positioning of the keyboard and the display.

Tablet positioning

Ensure the screen is propped upright and slightly backwards on a stand or tablet holder. Position the computer on a hard surface directly in front of you, so that you can look directly at the viewing area without putting strain on your neck.

Desktop positioning

The best screen position for a desktop computer is exactly the same as for a laptop, with one exception. The distance from eyes to monitor should be approximately an arm’s length (further away than a laptop screen).

Best body position

Sit comfortably upright – preferably in an ergonomically designed office chair with good lumbar support – with your body square to the screen.

Your neck, shoulders and arms should be relaxed, your arms and wrists resting parallel to the floor, and your feet planted firmly on the ground.

Optimal viewing techniques

Poor image quality, incorrect screen settings and the location of your computer monitor in relation to natural or artificial light can affect not just your eyes, but also your neck and back.

If images are fuzzy, the text is too small or faded or there’s glare on the display, you’ll instinctively lean forward to get a better view. The result? Pressure on the neck muscles, nerves and tendons, which can lead to pain and discomfort.

If necessary, buy a new display or device; adjust the brightness, contrast, and resolution of the screen; or reposition your screen so it’s not affected by glare.

Easy preventative measures

Along with positioning your screen properly and being aware of body posture, the easiest way to prevent neck and back pain is to move around during the day.

Aim to rotate your head, stretch your spine, flex your shoulders and walk around your desk (or further) every quarter of an hour.

This is a small price to pay for better neck and back health – and small breaks may even help boost your concentration levels when you get back to work.

At The Workspace, we don’t provide expert advice about ergonomic working conditions, but we do offer gorgeous but surprisingly affordable serviced offices and coworking. For more information or to book a tour of one of our branches, call us on 0861 250 259 or contact us online.

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