Proper Posture for Computer Use
For those of us whose job requires a large amount of computer work, effective ergonomics can be the key to keep our bodies healthy and pain-free. While posture plays a large role in how the body feels after a long day at the office, placing equipment and seating at the proper angles can help us naturally align in a more efficient and beneficial way for maximum comfort and stamina at the workplace.
Posture & Positioning
- The first step to better posture at a desk is to adjust your chair to the right height for computer work. (If you work at a standing workstation, skip directly to the next step.) Your feet should be flat on the floor, your thighs parallel to the ground, knees forming a 90 degree angle.
- Next, arrange your computer. Your eyes should be level with the top of your monitor. Tilt the monitor at an angle of approximately 15 degrees for an optimal neck position that will not strain your spine. For the sake of your eyes, be sure that you are sitting far enough from the screen so that there is at least 20 inches of space between your face and the monitor.
- Pull the keyboard tray out towards you, level with the height of your elbows when your arms hang loose at your side. In order to protect your elbows and shoulders, make certain never to reach forward to type. Maintain a right angle in the elbow joint. (If your desk does not have a separate keyboard tray, raise your chair and place feet flat on a small footrest or stool to maintain the joint angles described in Step 1.)
For Your Back...
- If you are prone to lower back pain, you may find that a firm cushion placed in the small of the back gives you the support you need.
- Try placing a wedge-shaped block under your feet to tilt your toes slightly upwards.
For Your Wrists...
- When using the mouse, move from the shoulder rather than the wrist.
- Avoid wrist pads that create a bend in the wrist.
- Keep wrists flat, forearms stiff and parallel to the floor.
- Use reinforced wrist braces if you have need.
Use of Movement
Remember to take breaks to get moving. Instead of going straight from sitting at your desk to sitting in the break room, or in an armchair when you get home, take time to stretch your limbs, rotating each joint slowly, several times in both directions. Do not ignore your sore spots, but rather, pay special attention to them. Over all, be gracious to your body. Preventing an injury is far easier than healing after one.
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