Computer professionals spend thousands of hours working on computer, every year… year after year. It is not odd when they get back pain.
Neck and back pain is very common these days among computer professionals, that’s because they have to spend many hours sitting in the same posture putting load on the same muscles.
The problem comes when we don’t realize and slouch down or slouch over from the chair. This posture stretches the spinal ligaments and strain the discs and surrounding body structure. We don’t realize it initially but by the time it starts to hurt, the train is whistling to go. Immediate attention is required now, just changing your angle won’t help at all. That’s the reason why sometimes we keep changing our pose but the pain just keeps getting back.
This article contains tips for choosing a chair, sitting posture and other ergonomic tips to keep you safe, healthy and active.
Let’s start with the chair.
Back Pain Cure Tips: Getting the Right Chair
Most of the time, it is not your fault when you don’t sit properly, i.e. in the right posture. It is the fault of the chair.
An ergonomically designed office chair is a tool that helps you maximize back support and maintain good posture throughout the day. Of course, just having a good quality ergonomic office chair wouldn’t help if you don’t adjust it properly, but you need to have the tool first and skill later.
There are many kinds of chairs available for computer users. They include recliners, wood based, fiber based and a huge variety of office furniture. We won’t discuss all of those types, but only a few basic aspects which if the chair has, it is perfect regardless of the category of chairs it belongs.
These are the qualities your computer chair should have:
- Armrests: even though it may seem we don’t need them. We do!
- Adjustable Height: we need to adjust the height according to desk, computer screen and even leg rest.
- Leg Rest: basically you just need a place to support your legs. They shouldn’t be hanging in the air or you shouldn’t keep the chair low because otherwise feet will be hanging.
First step in setting-up an office chair is to define the required height of the user’s desk or workstation. Two factors come in to play here.
- Height of the person.
- Type of work done on desk.
Depending on these two factors, set up the work station. These are the things you need to remember to
- Resting eye level
- Elbow measure
- Thigh measure
- Calf measure
- Low back support
Check out this video for better understanding. This contains most of the basics for back pain cure tips.
Tips For Enhancing Posture
Sit Up Tall
Push your hips as far back in the chair you can. Set the seat in such a way that both your feet are flat on the ground and your knees are leveled with your hips. The back of the chair should give you a 100°-110° reclined angle. Ensure that both your upper back and lower back are supported. You can even use inflatable cushions or small size pillows if necessary. Adjust the armrests so your shoulders don’t get strained.
Keep the Keyboard Close
Position the keyboard that it is absolutely in front of your body. The keys should be centered with your body.
Your hands and wrists should be straight and armrests should be supporting your shoulders.
Almost all of the keyboards have a tilt system. Use it to suit your sitting position. If you are sitting slightly away from the table, it should be tilted upwards, if you are very close, you don’t need the tilt.
I can tell you from personal experience that I never used wrist rests until a couple of years ago. I didn’t know they mattered so much but since I started using them. My typing speed stamina has increased dramatically. You must try it.
Positioning The Screen
Adjust the monitor screen so that your neck is in a neutral, relaxed position. Center the screen directly in front of yourself, above your keyboard. The top of the monitor should be approximately 2-3” above your seated eye level. If you wear bifocal glasses (like my dad), lower the monitor to a more comfortable reading level.
Sit at least an arm’s length from the monitor screen. This distance is required for your vision. Try having no light source behind the screen. That maybe electric light or natural light coming in from the window.
Take a Break
No matter how much comfortable you feel in a posture, if maintain static posture, you will feel strain later on. So it is always advisable to take breaks. According to my physician, a two minute walk after every 20 minutes is best. If you are in the office, just walk to water cooler or say hi to a fellow at the far end of the office. This break is necessary for your eyes as well.
Tip: a 30 minute morning walk is essential for good health. Even if you spend time in the gym daily, but don’t got brisk morning walks, you are missing a lot.
Exercises are basically not cure but prevention. So even you don’t have a problem right now, which I sincerely hope, you should not avoid doing these easy exercises. There’s no particular number of reps you should do, 10 maybe after each hour in the office? You can go with whatever routine suits you.
- Stretch Your Hands
- Stretch Elbows
- Turn Neck Sideways
- Straighten Legs
- 2 Minute walk after every 20-30 minutes
Remember that these exercises are only to keep the blood circulating effectively. You should also give time to proper exercises and outdoor activities.
That’s all for now, I’ll be back with more health tips for computer professionals soon.
If you’d like me to research on any particular subject related to our health, please do comment and I’ll make your request the topic of my next article.