So many of us today have jobs that require long hours at the computer, so it can become easy to lose track of time without having regular breaks. When we sit in prolonged positions it places added strain on our muscles, ligaments and joints which can then make us more susceptible to neck, back, shoulder, arm and leg pain.
Here are some simple tips to help minimise the effects of prolonged computer use and poor posture:
– Sit in an adjustable office chair preferably with a back support. If your desk is not adjustable make sure your chair is at the right height for you, so that your hands rest comfortably on the keyboard. Your desk should also be close enoughso that your elbows are at 90 degrees whilst using the keyboard.
Adjust the backrest of your chair to help support your lower back and allow you to sit back in the chair. You should be able to feel the backrest behind you. Try using a rolled up towel or lumbar roll in your lower back to help maintain a good posture and stop you from slumping.
– Ensure your feet are supported either on the ground,on a foot rest or phone book. This avoids extra stress being placed through your legs and back.
– Ensure the computer screen is directly in front of you when you sit up straight and look ahead. The screen should be just below eye level.
– Position your mouse and phone close to your keyboard so you don’t have to stretch across to reach them.
– Try and alternate using your mouse with your right and left hand so that you’re not always using the same side for everything. If you suffer from wrist pain or elbow tendinosis check that your wrist is in a neutral position when you use your mouse. Placing a hand towel/ gel pad under your wrists whilst typing can assist with this
– Use a document holder beside your computer so you don’t have to keep looking down all the time. Otherwise try to vary which side you place your documents on. Try to avoid having paperwork between you and the keyboard, as this can cause increased tension in your shoulders by having to reach when using the keyboard.
– Try to have a break from continuous computer use every 20 – 30 minutes.eg faxing, filing, going to bathroom or even stretching in your chair etc. By looking away from your screen for a few seconds, when you’re not typing helps prevent eye fatigue.
– Most of us use laptops these days which are not really designed ergonomically. Check your home set up to ensure your posture is as good as possible and be wary of working on the couch/ bed for long periods of time.
– Finally drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated, but also to ensure you get up regularly from your desk.
Here are some simple stretches you can do at your desk to help minimise the effects of a desk based job.
– Shoulder rolls – roll your shoulders backwards 5- 10 times
– Neck stretches – tilt your right ear to your right shoulder and hold for 20 seconds. Then repeat on the Left side
– Stand up and arch your lower back backwards a few times. Do this gently.
– Stretch your arms overhead or behind you
– Stand up and twist gently from side to side.
None of these stretches should cause pain and should be performed regularly throughout the day. For any further information or to book an appointment for any injuries please contact the team at Leap Back Physio on 90772206/0413811581 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Leap Back Physio is located at 2/439 Burke Rd Glen Iris near the corner of Burke and Toorak Roads www.leapbackphysio.com.au