Healthy Postures at the Computer
Working at the Computer and Feeling No Pain
About three years ago, when I realized I could publish my books myself and leave a strong legacy for my child, I began to spend many hours at the computer writing, editing, and prepareing manuscripts for publication. Then came the marketing.
I began to have pain in my lower back. Soon I was spending more time moving around to ease back and neck pain than I was thinking about my work. Lacking money for an expensive ergonomic chair, I bought a simple back support you can see in the first picture. I tied it to a chair and improved my stamina considerably. With this cushion I could easily hold my posture and work. I made sure the screen was the the right height for my eyes. My chiropractor told me that for the best position of the neck, the one where it balances the head easily, I should be able to look straight across directly at my screen.
I also use a stool for my feet. I am not a health professional, but common sense tells me my knees should be raised slightly from the edge of the chair to ensure good circulation.
Later, I also decided to try standing up. I found that by putting my screen on a raised desk and putting the keyboard at elbow level I could work as many hours a day as I needed to. The next picture shows the desk I made by unscrewing the upright shelf from my elderly computer desk--with useless space for an old tube screen. I turned the upright piece on its side and added a working surface. Here is my standing desk and my position at the desk with one foot on the stool.
Because of some years of poor standing, I'm not the perfect model for neck and head posture, and my screen is not quite high enough, but I'll keep working on it until I get it right. It's good enough now to let me concentrate on my work.
That's my grandson in the hammock. He has his hands over his eyes, peeking out. With him to greet me, I get off to a good start every day.
Most of the time I choose to stand at the computer. If I want to sit for a bit, I move the keyboard down onto a pull-out shelf and tilt the screen down. Soon I'm on my feet again, comfortable and thinking about my work, not my body. I'm glad I was able to correct the chair for $7. I'm particularly pleased with redesigning my desk for no expense. It looks good, too.