Use Computers Without Wrecking Your Body

Back aching? Muscles in spasm?
Just about everyone works at a computer it seems. If you've been doing it for a long time, chances are your body feels as if it's twisted into a pretzel.

I've been writing at a computer for almost 30 years, and I have the muscles spasms to prove it. When I was younger, I could ignore the pain from hours at the computer because I knew that the pain would go away after my workout the next day.

Not so any more. I pulled the trapezius  muscles in both sides of my shoulders 3 years ago when I moved. It took more than a year to rehab from that. Ever since, I have to take great care not to inflame the nerves back there.

Here are some basic ergonomic "rules" to adopt so you can work without wrecking your body.
  1. Take a 5 minute stretch break every hour.
  2. Adjust drapes or blinds to make sure no glare is causing you to squint or give you headaches.
  3. Make sure the monitor isn't opposite a window so there's no glare or reflection on it.
  4. Adjust the position of your monitor so it's 18"-20" from your eyes with the top third of the screen viewable at eye level.
  5. Tilt your keyboard slightly so your hands line up with your elbows--not bent at the wrist--and your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle with your body.
  6. The mouse should be as close as possible to the typing keys or on a mouse keyboard slightly above the keyboard and in front of you, never to the right or left where you're reaching for it and putting a strain on your shoulders. (This is the hardest to set up. Reaching for the mouse kills my shoulders now.)
  7. Knees should be at 90 degree angle to your body--not with your thighs slanting down or up.
  8. Knees should also be 2-3" away from the edge of the chair. 
  9. Feet should be flat on the floor in front of you or on a footrest.
  10. You should sit straight in the chair with proper support of your lumbar.  
Takeaway Truth

Don't be like me--beset with a multitude of aches and pains. Learn to work ergonomically at the computer. Your body will thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment