Because of the nature of today’s digital world, more and more individuals are working in front of a computer throughout the day. This can cause unwanted pain and discomfort if your desk ergonomics are off. Something as simple as chair height and position can drastically improve your wellbeing at work. Our physical therapy team has compiled a list of tips to help keep you productive and pain free:
1. Consider your neck positioning and seating:
- Chairs with back and neck support is important. Make sure to avoid a forward head posture. If you have a constant tendency to do this, consider getting a chair with neck support to avoid straining your neck.
2. Computer Monitor Positioning:
- The top 1/3 of computer screen should not exceed eye level. This prevents neck flexion/forward head posture and further injury to the neck.
- Monitor is at arm’s length away from user and is placed directly in line with middle of the body, spacebar and keyboard.
- Minimize glare.
3. Keyboard Positioning:
- Computer keyboard should sit directly in front of your monitor. If it sits too far to the right or left, you will have to frequently turn your head/neck to look at what you’re typing, again, straining the neck.
- Keep wrists in a straight/neutral position to avoid wrist and forearm discomfort.
- Mouse should also be placed close to keyboard and within reach.
4. Armrest / Desk height:
- Desk/armrest should support the weight of your arms while working.
- Adjust armrests on your chair to allow a 90-degree bend in the elbow for proper arm support. This will continue to prevent shoulder and neck strain.
- Remind yourself to relax your shoulders.
5. Foot Placement:
- Feet should be completed supported by the floor or footrest. Pressure should spread equally through the soles of your feet and heels, with knees at 90-degrees/thighs parallel to the floor. If you can’t adjust the seat of your chair to do this, you can utilize a footrest instead.
6. Avoid Slouching:
- Constant slouching stresses the vertebrae and may cause excessive reaching which can lead to shoulder problems as well. A good chair should supply lumbar support for your low back and be a comfortable distance away from your mouse and keyboard.
7. Prevent Eyestrain:
- Monitor should be a minimum of an arm’s reach away.
- Consider an anti-glare cover for the screen. Also try to avoid overly bright overhead lights, as this can reduce glare.
- Take frequent breaks from looking at your computer screen, about every 10-15 minutes, to avoid eye strain/fatigue.
8. Phone Utilization:
- When talking on the phone avoid holding the receiver with your neck/head and shoulder, avoiding neck/shoulder strain.
- Try using the speaker option on your phone if possible or a headset.
9. Standing Posture:
- When standing at your desk, try and distribute weight evenly through the entire bottom of both feet.
- Break up prolonged static standing by taking occasional walks.
- If standing for longer periods of time, consider a gel floor mat to help relieve joint stress.
- Wearing a good pair of supportive shoes can make standing more comfortable as well.
If you spend even short amounts of time at your computer during the day, you could feel the affects of poor desk ergonomics. Give us a call or email us if you have back, neck, hip, wrist or hand pain from working at your computer. Our physical therapy staff will help diagnose the problem and work to get you pain free. Give us call today for a FREE INJURY ASSESSMENT:
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