I’m developing a bad computer posture because I work all day at my desk.
I tend to slouch when writing and have noticed I’m starting to develop a small hunch at the top of my neck.
I really don’t like this, and I’m taking all the measures I can to stop looking like “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. 😃
If like me, you spend hours working at your computer, you could be facing the same or similar problems.
I have been researching like a possessed woman to find the best solutions to prevent and correct a bad posture while being on the computer.
So let’s start from the beginning.
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What Is Bad Posture?
Postural dysfunction or “Poor” posture is defined as when our spine is positioned in unnatural positions, in which the curves are emphasised and this results in the joints, muscles, and vertebrae being in stressful positions. This prolonged poor positioning results in a build-up of pressure on these tissues. Source
For many of us, computers and bad posture belong in the same sentence. Bad posture contributes to a myriad of problems to the human body.
Though not common, a slouching posture can lead to permanent damage to the spine. This is why it is important to know the risks of bad posture at the computer and how to prevent them.
You could use the following as a checklist for the factors considered while describing what a bad posture is.
Signs and symptoms of bad posture at the computer include:
- back pain
- neck pain
- shoulder pain
- wrist pain
- rounded shoulders
- general body ache and muscle fatigue
- leaning head
- regular headaches
These signs don’t look or sound life-threatening, but they could surely lead to long-term injury and even disability.
5 Health Issues Related to Bad Computer Posture | How To Fix Them
How can I prevent bad posture on my computer? Learn how to sit at your computer to avoid these health issues.
Most of the effects of a bad posture can be traced to an incorrectly aligned spine.
It is the onset of increased pressure on ligaments and muscles, which in turn, increases the risk of injury.
Here is a description of various problems that may arise from bad posture while working at the computer.
1. Problem: Back Pain
Most of the back pain while working on the computer arises from prolonged use of the mouse and/or bad sitting position.
Fix: One way of preventing back pain is making sure that you always have a proper sitting posture while at the computer:
# Your back should rest well on the backside of the seat. It shouldn’t be a gap between your lower back and the chair. Get a chair that can be easily adjusted. Remember that if you live at your computer like I do, we need to invest in a good quality chair. This one seems perfect.
# Forearms and wrists should be level with the floor.
# Knees should be a little lower than your hips.
# Feet should be flat on the floor but use a footrest if you feel more comfortable.
# Using the mouse too much leads to a twisted seating position. To take care of this, consider learning keyboard shortcuts to replace the commands you commonly execute with the mouse.
2. Problem: Wrist Pain
Arm, elbow, and wrist pain could be a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome. If left untreated, it could cause permanent damage to the wrists.
Fix: Having the keyboard closer to you and slightly tilted helps a lot.
3. Problem: Feet
Varicose veins may result from bad posture, especially in women. That is why it is also not advisable to cross your legs while sitting.
Fix: The best position for your feet is firmly resting them on the floor or using a footrest if more comfort is needed.
4. Problem: Pain on Neck and Shoulder
Pain at the top and bottom of the neck is common among people who spend long hours at the computer. (yeah, that’s me!)
It is particularly worse if the problem is being caused by bad posture.
Sore or tense shoulders may result from slouching or bad positioning of the arms.
If you are experiencing lower neck pain, your screen is positioned too low.
If the pain is at the top of the neck, then the screen is too high.
Fix: Adjust your monitor in such a way that a quarter of the top section aligns with your eyes. This will prevent tilting the head either upwards or downwards.
Or even better, get an adjustable computer desk. It makes a significant difference in your posture and relieves pressure on the neck and shoulders.
If you work on your laptop, check this foldable laptop table stand. You can adjust its height and angle, so is perfect to use in bed, while lying on the sofa, and even on the floor.
I been searching for an affordable adjustable height computer desk at Amazon but is proving difficult. The desks that have better reviews are the most expensive ones and the cheaper ones, have some kind of problem. In the end, I have settled for this one. The reviews are mostly good and the price is in the middle. Not too expensive or too cheap.
5. Problem: Digestion
Slouching causes internal organs to be pressed against each other, which could either interrupt or stall digestion. The consequence of this is constipation or other metabolic-based conditions.
Fix: Get a desk that is specially designed for working on a computer. Avoid slouching or abnormal sitting positions. Avoid sitting down for long hours by taking short breaks to stand or take a short walk around.
Sitting at A Computer All Day Tips | 7 Ways to Prevent Bad Posture
What is the safest way to sit at a desk while typing on the computer?
1. When working on your computer, make sure that the working surface is easily reachable without bending or lurching forward to reach it. Your forearms ought to be at a 90-degree angle with the upper arms.
2. The head, neck, and shoulders should always be relaxed, which in my book means straight.
And is sooo difficult.
I try to be aware of my posture, but most of the time I’m so distracted with the work that I forget.
I was so fed up that I bought a posture corrector brace. To be honest, you need time to get used to it but it helps a lot. There are many choices but I went with the one that had better reviews. If you need one check it out here.
3. The best position for the computer screen – The distance between the monitor and your eyes should not be less than 15.7 inches. To avoid bending your head downwards, the top edge of your monitor should either be at or below eye level.
4. To take care of your legs, the seat you use should allow your feet to rest firmly on the floor. Your thighs should also be parallel to the floor.
5. Make sure that the screen is glare-free. Reflection makes difficult reading and this might cause slouching. It will also prevent eye strain and fatigue. Check if adjusting the screen’s brightness or contrast helps. If you keep having computer glare try using an anti-glare protector.
6. Take small breaks. I forget about this too, so now I set up a reminder to make sure I don’t forget to stand up and do some walking and stretching. This leads me to …
7. Get a break to stretch. This step is really important and will greatly improve your posture. I leave you with a video that I use every day for stretching my “computer” muscles. I can’t tell you how good it feels. Try them!
It is about 7 minutes long and explains how computers affect the body, and what can we do to reverse it. If you are short of time fast forward to 2:25, where the exercises begin.
Once we learn proper sitting and master good posture at the computer, these are all the benefits we are going to get:
- Relief from neck, back, wrist, and elbow pain.
- Improved digestive health.
- Prevents osteoporosis and arthritis.
- Improved breathing.
- You get to work better for longer.
- Better concentration and productivity.
Not bad, right? So, let’s remember our posture!
Do you suffer from bad computer posture? What is your fix? Please share your tips in the comments below. Thanks!