Everyone uses computers now. We use them at work, at home, at play, our children at school are using them. As a result of this relatively new activity I see more and more injuries related to it. Who would have thought that sitting all day could injure you. Some common computer related injuries are Carpal tunnel Syndrome and other Repetitive Stress Injuries, facet syndrome in the low back and in the neck, upper cross syndrome, and just general back and neck pain.
You can avoid or reduce these problems with a few simple modifications to your computer use.
- Take the time to modify your workstation for you. Especially if there are multiple users of your computer as often happens at home, make sure that you adjust it for you. At home make sure to educate your family on these tips also.
- Position the monitor so that the top of the screen is at or below eye level. If you can’t adjust the monitor try adjusting your chair a little. The monitor should also be in line with your keyboard so that you are not having to turn to see the screen while you type.
- Make sure your chair supports you. Chairs with lumbar support are good, but they must fit you. You can use towels or pillows or purchase tailored items to fit your back. You’re chair should have arm rests that fit you. They should not push your shoulders up or let them hang down. The back of your knees should be an inch or two in front of the chair, not touching, and your feet should be able to touch the floor or be supported in some way.
- Keep your mouse close to your keyboard so that you don’t have to hang your arm out away from your body to use the mouse.
- Use computer settings and lighting to keep text visible for you, not to small so that you end up leaning into the screen just to be able to read it.
- Your wrists should be in a neutral position while typing or using your mouse rather than angled up or down.
- Limit the time that you are on the computer or take frequent breaks. This doesn’t mean that you have to get up and waste time for 15 min. You can take a break by standing up for a second and touching your toes. Clench your hands into fists and then stretch them out. Do some wrist exercises. Twist in your chair to get full spine range of motion. These things only take a few seconds, and if you remember to do them 3 times an hour you will avoid the effects of creep on you soft tissues.
- Drink plenty of water (not soda, or coffee). Eat a balanced diet and get regular exercise.
Your chiropractor can help you to prevent and reduce computer related injuries.