A lot of our patients at Surrey Pain & Wellness Chiropractic Clinic have fatigue, pain and decreased function due to long periods of sitting at their computer
If you sit for long periods of time at a computer workstation, you can make some simple adaptations that will make your job easier (less tiring) and more efficient too
Keyboard. Position the keyboard above your lap and ensure that you can type with your arms close to your body. Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees (so elbows are level with your wrists) to avoid straining the small tendons in the wrist.
Computer Monitor. Position the monitor at eye level. Adjust the “View” on your menu to avoid squinting and straining the muscles in the eye. If you use eyeglasses, be sure to use them all the time, before the headache or eye strain becomes a problem at the end of a long day!
Mouse. Use a relaxed grip on the mouse to avoid strain. When moving the mouse around, try to move your elbow around rather than the more delicate wrist muscles.
Telephone. Use a hand to support the phone against your ear. Alternate sides regularly. Try not to cradle the phone between your ear and your shoulder. If you are on the phone a lot, consider using a headset in order to reduce strain on your neck and arms.
Chair. Sit up straight and at the back of the chair to ensure the back is well supported. It is ideal to use an ergonomic cushion which supports the arch of your low back.
Here are some tips on how to adjust your chair and support good posture:
1. Stand in front of the chair and adjust the height of the seat, making sure that the highest point of the seat is just below your kneecap.
2. Sit on the chair and check that your knees are bent at approximately a 100 degree angle when your feet are flat on the floor.
3. Adjust the backrest forward and backward and up and down until it fits comfortably in the arch of your lower back.
4. Sit upright with your arms hanging by your sides. Then bend your elbows at a right angle and adjust the armrest height until they barely touch the undersides of the elbows.
5. Place a phone book or foot stool under your feet and alternate one or both feet often to reduce strain on the low back.
Take breaks often. Try not to sit in any one position for a long period of time. Take a quick stretch break or change position every 30- to 45 minutes. For a quick and easy stretch, stand up, way up on your tip toes, and raise your arms over your head.
Our Surrey Chiropractors can give you strategies and tactics to help with specific problems you many want to address in your work space. Should you develop a repetitive strain injury, chiropractic treatments can also help to eliminate your pain.
Did you know: 80% of Canadians will suffer from back pain in their lifetime? Chiropractic treatments and a range of healing therapies offered at Surrey Pain & Wellness Clinic can help with your back pain. Please review the services on our website at or feel free to call the clinic to find out more at 604.507.9929.
Long Hours at the Computer Can Lead to Chronic Pain
If you are one of those people who sit at a computer for long hours in a day, you may be suffering from “computer neck” – or perhaps will be in the near future. Other problems that surface when spending long hours in front of a computer include back pain, shoulder pain, hand, wrist and finger pain – all resulting in reduced mobility and possibly leading to other injuries, loss of sleep and certainly a decrease in your ability to be productive when sitting in front of your computer.
Leaning Forward at the Computer Can Strain the Neck & Lower Back
There are stretches and many other measures you can take to reduce your aches and pains and prevent or reduce future problems as a result of long hours at the computer.
A lot of people who sit at a computer – especially if they are there for a prolonged period – tend to lean their heads forward. I suggest you sit up as straight as possible and even possibly get a chair that is adjustable so that your knees are equal to or even slightly higher than your hips. This will force you to sit in a more upright position. Another thing you can do is place a stool under your feet so that your knees are raised slightly higher than your hips. You can vary your position on the foot stool, sometimes having just one foot on the stool, then the other, but it is best to keep both feet on the stool to keep the body aligned. If you do have an adjustable chair, slightly tip the seat forward to help you to sit up straight and prevent that “slouching” that is so easy to revert to when you are sitting at your desk for a prolonged period of time.
Many people find a lot of neck tension and muscle strain in their upper neck and shoulders as a result of long hours sitting at a computer. I recommend you take two minutes every half hour or so to do a quick stretch – you don’t even need to leave your desk. Just hang onto your chair on one side and lean the opposite way while gently pulling your head to that same side. I recommend you do the same thing on both sides in order to keep your symmetry and your muscles even aligned. It will feel really good, so remember this is something that will not only help you to be more productive for a longer period of time, and prevent those eventual aches and pains that can lead to a more chronic condition, but it will also feel GREAT!
For those of you who do a lot of typing and mouse work, you may find your hands and forearms cramping. Another easy suggestion to alleviate that is while you are sitting at your desk, take 30 seconds to grab your fingers and push your palm forward, stretching out your forearm. Do the same thing on the other side and then grab your fingers but face your palm inward. You can then just gently shake your hands and fingers and get back to work!
It is also a good habit to move around every 30-60 minutes. Stand up and take a walk around the office if you can, even if it is for a minute or two. Go and get a glass of water, use the washroom or even start a different task. Finally, when you take a lunch break try to do that away from your desk – if there is someplace outdoors that you can walk to, even better! If you schedule a walk or lunch out of the office with someone else, this will also help ensure you get a bit more physical activity into your day.
Basically, changing up your computer routine to prevent injury is no different than changing up your fitness routine to prevent injury – any sustained activity can lead to over use injuries. There are other ways to reduce stress on your back, neck, shoulders, hands, wrists and even prevent things like carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, neck pain and back pain.
Feel free to tell us about what you do to change up your computer routine and prevent computer neck and other related over use injuries.
If you have any questions about chiropractic or other treatments to alleviate pain or reduce computer stress in your body, call or come by the Surrey Pain & Wellness Clinic in Newton Crossing, 604.507.9929.