Does this sound familiar? You have been sitting at your desk at work in the same position for what seems to have been forever. All of a sudden you move, and then you hear them. As if on cue, your cervical vertebra from C2-C7 start their cranky chorus. As you gently shift, popping and cracking sounds emit from the bottom of your skull all the way down your spine, leaving you drained. Mother always told us to sit up straight, but after hours in front of a computer screen, your posture may not be the first things on your minds. Imbalance in your back and neck may lead to discomfort and, while some may swear by joint cracking, here are some options that may be a bit more civilized.
- Desk Set Up
The people at your office should provide you with a comfortable chair and well-placed keyboard tray. The positioning of screens, printers, and the mouse should all be considered and adjusted appropriately to the worker. For employees suffering from work related back and neck pain, some employers will offer standing desks, or will purchase desktop converters that enable the employee to switch between a standing and sitting desk as the day progresses.
- Sitting Position
When you are sitting at your desk, make sure your feet are flat on the floor and that your seat allows your thighs to slightly angle downward. This will concentrate your weight on your “sitting bones” and not your lower back and shoulders.
- Keyboard Tray
Make sure that when you aren’t forced to slump when you touch the keys. The keyboard should be elevated so that your shoulders don’t sag when your elbows are bent at a 90 degree angle. If the tray is not adjustable, put the keyboard on your desk. In addition, make sure the mouse and drafting pad is at the same height as the keyboard.
- Adjusting Your Monitor
The bottom of your computer monitor should be aligned to your chin. Computer monitors tend to be too low, leading to the inevitable hunch. You may want to adjust the screen slightly depending on the height of the monitor. Just make sure you can look straight at your screen.
- Limit Your Use Of Cell Phones And Emails
You are more likely to develop upper back and neck pain when using a tablet or cell phone answer emails. If you want the best results for maintaining good posture, stick to working with an actual computer.
- Walk Around
Get up and stretch every half hour or so. If you are the type that gets very absorbed in your work, you may want to set an alarm clock to remind you that it’s time to move. Remember that discomfort can have a negative effect on the quality of work, so take one for the team and take a moment to uncoil.