At the end of the working day I notice my neck is pretty sore from sitting at the computer all day. What can I do? Scott, 43.
There are certainly a number of things you can do to help. If you use a computer extensively (more than a few hours per day), it is recommended you consider proper workstation layout and posture techniques to minimise your risk of developing injuries in the hand/arm, neck, shoulder and back.
To start with have an ergonomic assessment by your work place if it is offered to ensure your desk has been set up correctly. You can use these top ten tips below to assist in your set up:
1. Make sure you sit as far back in your chair as able
2. Ensure your feet are flat on the floor (use a foot stool if needed) and your thighs are parallel to the floor
3. Adjust the back support to ensure your upper and lower back supported. Use a lumbar roll to assist with correct position
4. Adjust the armrests so that your shoulders are relaxed and elbows at 90 degrees
5. Position your keyboard directly in front of your body and adjust the keyboard height so that your shoulders are relaxed, your elbows are in a slightly open position (100° to 110°), and your wrists and hands are straight. (Wrist rests can help to maintain neutral postures and pad hard surfaces. However, the wrist rest should only be used to rest the palms of the hands between bouts of work)
6. Centre the screen directly in front of you, above your keyboard. Position the top of the screen approximately 2-3” above seated eye level. Sit at least an arm’s length away from the screen and then adjust the distance for your vision.
7. Position source documents directly in front of you, between the screen and the keyboard, using an in-line copy stand. If there is insufficient space, place source documents on a document holder positioned adjacent to the screen.
8. Place your telephone within easy reach. Telephone stands or arms can help. Use headsets and speaker phone to eliminate cradling the handset.
9. Reduce lighting glare, close blinds and adjust lighting to avoid glare on screen. Place monitor at 90 degree angle to windows (where possible) and reduce overhead lighting
10. Have regular rest breaks and stretches throughout the day
Regular computer users perform 50,000 to 200,000 keystrokes each day. Under certain conditions and for vulnerable individuals, frequent computer use that involves awkward postures, repetition, and forceful exertions may be related to nerve, muscle, tendon, and ligament damage.
Overuse injuries can develop over time, and may set in more quickly if you spend long hours sitting at a computer at home, as well as at work.
If you are still unsure or continue to experience pain despite adjusting your work station then you are welcome to see me or any of the Physios at SquareOne to talk about some specifics and address any postural or musculoskeletal issues that could be contributing to your ongoing pain.