Occasionally, I’ll be bringing in experts to give some concrete ideas that you can literally put into action. They’re called GUEST POSTS.
How to Cope with Pain is a website and blog written by a psychiatrist who specializes in treating chronic pain. This GUEST POST is Part I of a 2-part series on comfortable computer use, and avoiding repetitive movement injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome from all activities.
Part 2, Avoiding Repetitive Movement Injuries, will appear at How to Cope with Pain later this month.
The holidays are over, and for many of us, that means returning to work and to our computers. Or perhaps you’re returning to work after a medical leave, and will begin typing once again. Or maybe you use the computer for email, looking at websites, shopping and fun.
Whatever the situation, computer use is common these days, and the hours we spend at our computers are getting longer and longer. As you’re probably aware, our bodies were not built for sitting and typing all day. So our days at our desks can give us aches and pains. And these smaller discomforts can turn into more serious problems if we’re not careful.
As we start of 2008, why not take a few minutes to take care of yourself, by evaluating your computer station? Those few minutes might just keep you healthy!
• When sitting at your computer, your hips, knees and ankles should be at 90-degree angles
• Your feet should be flat on the floor
• Sit back in your seat, so your back touches the back of the chair
Keyboard and Mouse
• Your forearms should be parallel to the floor
• Your wrists should be in line with your forearms
• Use wrist cushions if these help you be more comfortable
• Be sure the keyboard is close enough for you… your upper arms should be relaxed at your sides
• Your screen should be right below eye height
• Your screen should be about arm’s distance away
• Adjust the brightness level so it’s comfortable
• Adjust the text size so it’s easily readable
Other Helpful Tools
• Use a document holder if you need to refer to a paper. This should be placed right next to your computer screen.
• Use a telephone headset if you often talk on the telephone. This will prevent neck strain that can occur when you rest the telephone on your shoulder.
With attention to these points, you’ll be more comfortable while working at your computer. You’re invited to stop by How to Cope with Pain later this month for an article on avoiding over-use injuries from all types of activities.
Thanks to Joelogon and MSU for the photos, and to Kristin Schweizer, MPT, at Caring Today for information for this article.