It’s a well-established fact that prolonged computer use puts a lot of strain on the neck and back; this is an ailment that has plagued office workers for decades. When using a computer for long periods of time, poor posture and bad ergonomics can come together in a perfect storm, causing you to lean forward and putting tremendous pressure on your vertebra and discs. This Cyber Monday, we know plenty of our readers could potentially spend all day on the computer, so the staff at Resurgens Spine Center has put together a few tips to help you avoid the negative consequences that come with long hours spent on the computer.
Take Frequent Breaks
Cyber Monday sales last all day; those deals will still be there when you get back from a 30-minute break. While popular retail websites would love to keep you shopping all day long, it’s just not healthy to spend that much time on the computer. Any time you start to feel pressure or pain in your spine, try getting away from your computer for 30 minutes or so. Standing up and taking a walk will not only straighten your spine (relieving the pressure that causes pain), it will also get your blood circulating, putting your body in a better position to heal minor damage and replenish fluid in the vertebral discs.
Set Up Your Workspace Properly
One great way to prevent yourself from leaning forward while you’re on the computer is to pay some attention to ergonomics and set up your workstation to be more comfortable. If you wear corrective lenses, try placing your monitor at a distance where you can see the words on the screen without having to lean forward. Your monitor should also be placed at eye level and perpendicular to your line of sight so you don’t have to look up, look down, or twist your neck to see it. Once your monitor is sorted out, think about the position of your chair, as well as peripherals like the keyboard and mouse. Your chair should be comfortable and support the neck, back, and arms, while the keyboard and mouse should be positioned in a way that allows you easy access from your comfortable sitting position.
Keep Your Posture in Mind
Even if your workspace is set up perfectly, years of muscle memory may make you more inclined to lean forward while you’re using a computer. This can be a hard habit to break, but with a little conscious effort, you can get your posture straightened out for good. When sitting at your desk, your feet should be flat on the floor and your back should be against the back of your chair. Your head should be in a neutral position with your ears directly above your shoulders. As you work, keep this position in mind and return to it any time you feel yourself leaning forward (you can even try setting an alarm that goes off every 15 minutes if you have trouble remembering).
While the physicians at the Resurgens Spine Center advise against spending many consecutive hours on the computer, they also know that those Cyber Monday deals can be tough to pass up. Luckily it is possible to stay on your computer without injury, as long as you follow the tips listed above. Good luck with your Cyber Monday shopping, and don’t let those savings come at the expense of your health.