Do you spend long periods of time on your computer? Doing work, playing your favorite video game, or writing the next best global novel? Whatever you’re doing, are you plagued with neck and back pain? This pain could be tied to your posture. When you practice good posture you are saving your muscles and joints from the unnecessary pressure that will cause you pain.
BEGIN WITH YOUR SEAT
When you sit in a chair, your legs should be the same height as the seat of your chair or lower and you should place your feet flat on the floor. If you are short and the height of your chair is fixed, you should invest in a footstool to ensure you get the proper support.
To reduce or avoid pain in your spine, you should align it with the back of your chair, which should be positioned near a 110-degree angle. So, you should be tilting back somewhat when you are in a proper typing position. If armrests are hindering your posture, remove them or get another chair if they can’t be removed.
CHECK THE POSITION OF YOUR MONITOR
Your monitor should be an arm’s length away from your body and centered. When you keep your monitor at this distance you are preventing strain on your eyes and neck. To further protect yourself, place the top of your monitor 2 to 3 inches above your eyes and if you wear glasses, you may find more comfort by lowering your monitor somewhat.
The right height of your keyboard is very important to the health of your hands. Most people put their keyboard on their desk, directly under their chest level. This puts a great deal of stress on your hands, shoulders, and wrists. Your hands are already an extremely overused part of your body. Long periods of typing with your keyboard in this position can reduce circulation and stain the nerves and joints in your shoulders, arms, back, and wrists result in numbness and pain. With continued improper use, you may succumb to repetitive injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. This long-term problem can cause great pain in your hands and arms.
If available, opt for a keyboard that is positioned under your desk and somewhat below your elbows.
YOUR LAPTOP ISN’T THE ANSWER
While your laptop may be light and portable, it isn’t great for long-term use as it’s hard to get the right position that will support your health when you use your laptop, place it on your desk or another surface, and always pair it with an external mouse and keyboard.
Though laptops are made for your lap, they can cause headaches and back pain. Because the screen is so low, you may bend your head forward to try and see it which puts a lot of pressure on the bones at the top of your neck.
Remedy: Ensure your laptop is six inches below your gaze. This will reduce the amount of time you spend hunched over in order to see the screen. If your lap is further away than six inches, use a book or tray.
Finally, do not use your laptop for more than thirty minutes during one sitting.
At your local CVS, you can purchase wrist braces that will support your wrist. These are tan in color, labeled “firm” and are made for your left and right hand. These should be worn when you are typing and when sleeping if the pain is very bad.
This will force your wrists straight, relieving much of the pain. Adjust the straps as needed to support your hands.
VERTICAL (OR ERGONOMIC) MOUSE
This mouse will place your hand in a natural handshake position relieving the pain of twisting your hand into unnatural positions. Because the twisting pinches nerves it may lead to a lot of pain. These ergonomic mouses are quite affordable.
ON THE EDGE
Keeping our keyboard and mouse on the edge of your desk will relieve a lot of pain. When typing you should have no pressure on your wrists and elbows. Ensuring your elbows are at a 90-degree angle and hanging in the air, with straight wrists. This will force the weight of your forearm to rest on your muscles, leaving you much comfort to type for long periods of time.
Ergonomic mice, keyboards, chairs, and tables are all designed to keep your body in the correct position for maximum comfort. A split keyboard is an excellent investment in your future comfort and productivity. With an inwardly-facing keyboard that is higher in the middle, your wrist will remain straight rather than turned as they are when using a regular keyboard.
There is an adjustment period when using a split keyboard, as some of the keys are o the other side, but it is well worth it because you will get a variety of extended comfort and ensure your hands, fingers, wrists, and arms remain relaxed and pain-free.
Taking care of your hands is very important to your overall productivity and quality of life. If computer use is a daily part of your life, these tips can prevent pain that may worsen, become permanent, and possibly need surgery. Investing in your body will keep it strong for many years so you can get a lot done, reach the dreams you have, and reduce pain.
Typing is a great skill, but without the proper support, you can damage your body through repetitive stress injuries. Whether you get ergonomic mice, keyboards, chairs, desks, or practice many stretches, pain does not have to be a reality of your productivity. Be good to your body and enjoy all of the amazing things it can do for a long time.