A poorly adjusted workstation can give low back, neck and shoulder pain. By following some simple steps you can adjust your PC at home and work to limit the strain you place on your body. With the time children can spend on computers it's worthwhile checking their workstations in their bedroom as well.
Is your workstation properly adjusted? Follow these tips.
Support the low back
Adjust your chair to support your low back. Ensure your knees are level with your hips. A footrest may help with this.
Alter your chair
Your chair should be at a height where you can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor. Keep your elbows loosely tucked by your side.
Both feet flat on floor
Feet should be flat on the floor. If they’re not, use a footrest. Don't cross your legs!
Alter your screen level
Your monitor should be directly in front of you at about an arm's length away. The top of the screen should be roughly at eye level - you may need a stand for this.
Using your keyboard
Your keyboard should be in front of you. Leave a gap of about 10cm-15cm at the front of the desk to rest your wrists between bouts of typing. Keep your wrists straight when using a keyboard. Your elbows should be vertical under your shoulders and by your side. A wrist rest keeps your wrists straight and at the same level as the keys.
Make sure your mouse is close
Keep the mouse as close to you as possible. A mouse mat with wrist pad maintains your wrist in a neutral position.
Check for screen glare
Screen glare tenses your face and alters the position of your neck and head. If there’s glare on your screen, hold a mirror in front of it to find out where it’s coming from. Change the angle of the screen to avoid reflection from overhead lighting and sunlight. Reduce the glare from light by closing blinds and using table lights instead of overhead lighting. Adjusting the screen's brightness or contrast can make it easier to use.
Keep things close to hand
Make sure objects you use frequently e.g. your pens or telephone are in easy reach. You don’t want to repeatedly stretch or twist in order to get things.
Don’t cradle the phone
Try using a headset but if you have to use a phone don’t cradle it between your shoulder and ear.
Don’t get stuck
Stuck in one position – even the ideal one – can cause you problems. It doesn’t matter so much what exercise you do at the computer to give yourself a quick stretch so long as it’s nothing too vigorous and avoid bending your neck back.
Often patients will get up whenever they can even if it’s just for a few seconds to shuffle around or do a few shoulder rolls or drop one shoulder down then the other to stop themselves stiffening up.
Any changes in posture, diet or exercise should not be carried out before consultation with an appropriate healthcare professional.