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Computers

Computers

Wearing Posture Medic at his desk.

Those who work on a computer perform on average between 50,000 to 200,000 keystrokes every day. Frequent computer use that involves bad posture, repetition or forceful exertions can lead to nerve, muscle, and tendon or ligament damage.

If you use a computer for several hours a day, it is important you set up your workstation correctly and implement proper posture techniques to minimise your risk of harming your hands, arms, shoulders, neck and back.

Injuries as a result from overuse develop gradually, but can occur more quickly if you spend many hours sitting at a computer either at home or at work. Wearing the Posture Medic can help to stabilise your back when sitting at a computer for over 20 minutes a time.

Symptoms

DID YOU KNOW?

Poor posture is to blame for 40% of workplace compensation costs.

DID YOU KNOW?

The best position for sitting at a desk is to lean back by 135 degrees so as to minimise lower back pain.

DID YOU KNOW?

When wearing posture aids while sitting, people get more restless ant tend to move more, increasing the circulation.

DID YOU KNOW?

Back pain can also be avoided by doing pushups on regural basis.

Symptoms of poor posture and repetitive strain include:

  • Numbness in fingers
  • Aching, sore wrists
  • Lower back pain
  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain; also includes blurring of vision, watery eyes and dryness
  • Aches and pains in neck, shoulders, back and thighs
  • Postural fatigue (pains in lower legs) Strain in soft tissues (repetitive strain injury)

Injury Prevention

As Benjamin Franklin himself once said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Although he was talking about fire prevention, the sentiment applies to many situations in life. You can easily avoid most computer related overuse injuries before they take hold and cause more serious problems by:

  •  Using a correctly set up workstation
  • Adopt the correct posture which also includes the way you use the keyboard and the mouse
  • Take regular breaks.

Setting Up Your Workstation

It’s a fact that working at a workstation that is properly set up for your needs and fits your size helps you to work more efficiently and productively. It will also ensure you work in a neutral position that doesn’t put any undue stressor pressure on the body. A workstation that has been inadequately set up forces the body to work in uncomfortable, unnatural positions such as slouching, hunching and twisting which can lead to injury.

ergonomic workstation setup

Your Chair

  Your desk chair must be one that is sturdy, adjustable and tilts.   A chair with a lumbar support is desirable but support can be bought and added on to the chair to help support the curve of the lower back (lumbar region). Do not be tempted to lean forward in your chair when you use your computer. Your thighs should be horizontal with your knees at the same level as your hips and your feet should be rested comfortably on the floor or a footrest.

Your chair should also support your forearms with adjustable armrests that position your elbows near your waist. Have a padded seat with a pan at least an inch wider than your hips and thighs. Drop down slightly and allow a 2 to 3 finger breath-space between the seat cushion and the back of your knees when sitting. Consider purchasing a chair with a base with at least 5 points that rolls on casters (wheels.)

Work Surfaces

When the height of a desk is at elbow level when sitting, this suits the majority of people. There should be enough room between the desk and your knees and thighs; they should not be squashed. 

You should consider having the height of the surface holding your keyboard or mouse about 1 to 2 inches above your thighs and centre the keyboard in front of your body.

A correctly positioned keyboard means that:

  • Your elbows stay near your body at an open angle which allows blood flow to the lower arms and hands.
  • Your arms will be virtually perpendicular to the floor.
  • Your wrists are almost straight.
  • You will feel more comfortable using your arm to move the mouse as opposed to just your wrists.

Make sure the mouse fits easily in your hand and is as flat as possible to minimise any wrist strain. It also makes it easier for you to read the monitor, preventing eye strain as well as neck and shoulder fatigue by keeping your head and neck as straight as possible. Wearing the Posture Medic will help you to maintain an upright posture when looking at the screen and working. The monitor should be positioned about 20 to 26 inches in front of your head, with the top of the viewing screen at eye level so you do not have to look up or down. If you need access to documents, place a document holder between the monitor and keyboard or to the side of the monitor to avoid twisting your neck or body to reach material.

Arranging your monitor correctly will make it easier to read the screen and documents you need to reference. It helps prevent eye strain, neck pain and shoulder fatigue by keeping your head and neck as straight as possible. Wearing the Posture Medic helps remind you to sit up straight when looking at your monitor and working at your desk. Your monitor should be separate from your keyboard and centred directly in front of you. Other Workstation Suggestions:

  • Set up your workstation away from sources of glare or bright light such as windows.
  • Use a headset if you talk on the phone and type at the same time.
  • Organize your workstation so the objects you need most often are within easy reach.

Your Posture, Keyboard, and Mouse

Using a workstation that is correctly set up for use, you can sit at the computer comfortably in a neutral position that can help eliminate the risks of developing any  musculoskeletal injuries:

  • Spine: Your ears are in line with the tops of the shoulder and your shoulders will be in line with your hips
  • Shoulders: Upper arms hang relaxed and close to the body,
  • Wrists: Hands are in straight lines with the arms lower.

Wearing the Posture Medic at work helps to keep your head, neck and shoulders in perfect and natural alignment and prevents any long-term injuries from developing.

When typing on a keyboard center your hands in front of you. Adjust your chair height & armrests so your wrists are straight on your desk

Keyboarding and Pointing Techniques:

DID YOU KNOW?

45% of people experience neck pain.

DID YOU KNOW?

Lower back pain is the leading cause of disability across the globe.

DID YOU KNOW?

North Americans spend at least $50 billion on back pain every year.

DID YOU KNOW?

The human brain requires 20% of the body’s oxygen.

  • Don’t grip the mouse, keep your fingers relaxed as you use the mouse
  • Don’t pound away at the keyboard; instead use a soft touch
  • Relax your fingers and hands between typing
  • Make sure you’re using the mouse with your wrist in a flat and straight posture
  • Avoid resting your elbow on hard surfaces
  • Look away from the keyboard at regular intervals to avoid eye strain

Additional Tips:

  • Don’t rest your elbows on hard surfaces.
  • Rest your eyes by focusing on distant objects (i.e., look out a window).

Take Regular Breaks

Your body isn’t built to sit still for long periods of time so make sure you occasionally change your seating position and stand or walk around whenever you begin to feel tired.   The following exercises will help exercise and stretch your muscles to avoid them seizing up and causing pain and discomfort:

  •  Stand up and stretch arms over your head while you lean to each side.
  •  Tilt your head to the side, ear to shoulder and hold. Relax and then repeat on the other side.
  •  Bring your shoulders up to your ears and hold for a few seconds before letting go.  Repeat.
  •  Hold one arm out straight in front of you, pull the hand backwards with the other one and then pull downward. Hold, relax and then repeat with the other arm.

Using A Laptop

ergonomic posture working on laptop

Using a laptop does not always allow for the correct posture to be held because the screen and keyboard are not separate. 

When using a laptop, we often hold our hands and wrists in the wrong position and often bend our head and neck to see the screen. If you use a laptop daily, consider buying an external monitor or get a stand to view the screen at the correct height and type using an external keyboard. If using a laptop occasionally, you can use the computer in your lap which provides neutral wrist posture. Take regular breaks and stretch your neck and shoulders to prevent them going stiff.

Wearing the Posture Medic each time you work helps you maintain correct posture.