Occupational Health & Safety

Proper Posture At The Computer

Having proper posture at the computer is beneficial for your health. The computer workstation has very few hazards. However, the importance of good ergonomic design is key to maintaining good health. Many computer-related illnesses and injuries are hard to diagnose but are primarily caused by the ergonomic nature of the computer workstation.

Doctor Izzy - Proper Posture at the ComputerWhen your head shoulders and head slump forward, your muscles become strained and are required to work 3 times harder. If you feel discomfort across your shoulder blades and at the base of the neck, this is an indication that your posture is causing strain on your muscles. This may be due to feeling tired or poor posture causing your shoulders and neck to fall forwards to a position where your chin pokes forwards.

Having the correct ergonomic workplace layout will be more comfortable and prevent injury. The recommendations for the distance required between the computer monitor and your eyes, the position of your seat and the correct angle for your knees and elbows.

Doctor Izzy - Proper Posture at the ComputerThe key to managing proper neck posture is holding your neck and head in a comfortable position that maintains the natural curve of your neck (cervical spine). Position your seat so that your feet are flat on the floor and the backrest is in an upright position, supporting your lower back. Your computer screen should be directly in front of you at eye level. The screen should be easy to read whilst sitting in an upright position. Position your arms at a 90-degree angle and your keyboard should be in easy reach. Proper posture at the computer will prevent you from feeling any strain in your neck and shoulders. If you use the telephone frequently, I recommend investing in a hand’s free headset.

Move and Stretch

Sitting for long periods of time will have an impact on your body. Taking regular breaks for stretching will prevent your muscles from becoming stiff. Your body is designed to move, go for a walk to increase your circulation. Avoid being stationary for long periods of time. Don’t wait to feel the discomfort before moving your body and stretching. The body is already feeling the strain by this time. I recommend getting up regularly and move around, go for a walk and stretch your muscles.

Doctor Izzy - Proper Posture at the ComputerRelaxing your arms, roll your shoulders in a backward motion several times. Stretch your neck muscles by slowly lowering your ear to your shoulder for about 30 seconds and then swap sides. Looking over one of your shoulders for 30 seconds and then look over the opposite shoulder. Do this several times a day to prevent muscle stiffness and any longterm injury caused by strain. If you feel any pain, maintain the stretch and focus on having proper posture at the computer.

If the pain persists, ask a chiropractor or your doctor for an examination. Your range of motion and posture when sitting and standing. You may need to make some minor adjustments to the way that you sit and stand.

If you experience pain or stiffness, I recommend setting a timer to remind you to do your stretches and ensure that you are maintaining proper posture at the computer. If the pain and stiffness persist, seek professional advice. When the feeling of stiffness is restricting your range of motion, go see a physiotherapist or a chiropractor for further treatment. The therapist will give you exercises to aid your recovery and prevent injury.

About the author

Dr. Izzy