For those of us whose job requires a large amount of computer work, effective ergonomics can be the key to keep our bodies healthy and pain-free. While posture plays a large role in how the body feels after a long day at the office, placing equipment and seating at the proper angles can help us naturally align in a more efficient and beneficial way for maximum comfort and stamina at the workplace.
Posture & Positioning
- The first step to better posture at a desk is to adjust your chair to the right height for computer work. (If you work at a standing workstation, skip directly to the next step.) Your feet should be flat on the floor, your thighs parallel to the ground, knees forming a 90 degree angle.
- Next, arrange your computer. Your eyes should be level with the top of your monitor. Tilt the monitor at an angle of approximately 15 degrees for an optimal neck position that will not strain your spine. For the sake of your eyes, be sure that you are sitting far enough from the screen so that there is at least 20 inches of space between your face and the monitor.
- Pull the keyboard tray out towards you, level with the height of your elbows when your arms hang loose at your side. In order to protect your elbows and shoulders, make certain never to reach forward to type. Maintain a right angle in the elbow joint. (If your desk does not have a separate keyboard tray, raise your chair and place feet flat on a small footrest or stool to maintain the joint angles described in Step 1.)
For Your Back...
- If you are prone to lower back pain, you may find that a firm cushion placed in the small of the back gives you the support you need.
- Try placing a wedge-shaped block under your feet to tilt your toes slightly upwards.
For Your Wrists...
- When using the mouse, move from the shoulder rather than the wrist.
- Avoid wrist pads that create a bend in the wrist.
- Keep wrists flat, forearms stiff and parallel to the floor.
- Use reinforced wrist braces if you have need.
Use of Movement
Remember to take breaks to get moving. Instead of going straight from sitting at your desk to sitting in the break room, or in an armchair when you get home, take time to stretch your limbs, rotating each joint slowly, several times in both directions. Do not ignore your sore spots, but rather, pay special attention to them. Over all, be gracious to your body. Preventing an injury is far easier than healing after one.
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TANE JY on June 09, 2014:
jack on November 23, 2013:
this website helps a bit
ketage from Croatia on July 10, 2013:
Great Hub , I sit in front of the computer for hours at a time and often find I get a stiff back the next morning, I will try some of the tips here and see if that helps my aching back :)
charlielawton on January 23, 2013:
this advice is really good i will keep it in mind before i used to slouch and get in all sorts of pain
j on September 04, 2012:
Chandryclaire on May 29, 2012:
Very useful tips I will utilize before I experience any symptoms of back pain. Thank You for the awesome article.
Adwoa on February 28, 2012:
very good information
Shasta Matova from USA on February 23, 2012:
This is great information - I have a tendency to slouch and tuck my legs under, and get into all kinds of awkward positions that make it painful when I get up.
Hillary from Atlanta, GA on November 19, 2011:
This is terrific, uncomplicated information Maddie and the picture so clearly illustrates proper computer posture! May I credit you and add a link from my upcoming Hub on muscle memory? Much appreciated and Rated up.
jaden marsh on September 26, 2011:
mum this is so cool thanks alotthank u all of u members and guests
bazga on September 15, 2011:
thiss reely helped with my gcse ict cors work
ao 1 posture lolz thnxxxxxxx
Duane on June 21, 2011:
One important consideration not covered is the role of eyeglasses. Many people over age 45 need a lens that provides the user a clear focus at a viewing distance between 20 and 26 inches. Your advice works well when the lenses are single focus. However, multifocal lenses (bifocal, trifocal and progressive focus) may cause people to lift their chin up, which strains the neck muscles, in order to position their eyes to use the lower part of their lenses. The optical industry has "dedicated" lens designs that help this dilemma.
charisse delos ama on June 20, 2011:
very effective and helpful
Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on April 03, 2011:
Maudie - I am writing a hub on posture and would like to link to your excellent hub for the posture for computer section. I am finishing it tonight. Thanks so much. :)vocalcoach ps Used to live in Walnut Creek and my son, in Oakland. Great weather and love Jack London Square.
jaoying on February 22, 2011:
Amazing hub thank for share
sarah on February 08, 2011:
I THINK THIS IS NOT RIGHT!!!
Yo Momma is a Beast. on February 01, 2011:
Very useful information. I know for a fact that everybody has bad posture when it comes to keyboards! I'll be working on my posture!
I love cheese.
Guda to be exact. KIDDING.
Easy cheese is boss.
sheena marie on January 14, 2011:
thanks for the information!!!!!!
Kevin W. on November 14, 2010:
Great my computer is at the perfect height. I noticed putting a pillow where my lower back is helps a lot for me.
daniel divson on September 14, 2010:
this is really help full
tweener on August 28, 2010:
i learned this for the sake of the exam
gajanis from Pakistan on August 05, 2010:
very good article.....keep it up.
Norm on July 12, 2010:
The information is much appreciated, after having sciatica for several years. Good posture both in the workplace and at rest is so vital to keeping the back in check is so important for me now.
Barnali on June 15, 2010:
Very useful topic.
brad wilson on December 10, 2009:
lol my mom Has always told me to look this kinda stuff up. thanks a lot :)
ciidoctor on August 28, 2009:
wow thank you
papachino from Las Vegas on August 25, 2009:
Thanks for the great information. Very good hub!
Rob on July 17, 2009:
Good article about an important topic. Who doesn't use a computer these days!
Bruce Elkin from Victoria, BC Canada on December 03, 2008:
Very helpful. It's changed the way I sit, and the way I position my Aeron chair. Most comfortable now! Thank you!
raintree on January 05, 2008:
Great tips Maddie, I use a cushion for my back and the foot rest and find them very helpful.
Small Business on November 23, 2007:
This is a very informative post with some really good tips on proper posture.
ychange on November 19, 2007:
This is very useful information. Most of us develop serious back problems because of the way we sit in front of our computers. Thanks.
Stacie Naczelnik from Seattle on September 11, 2007:
I've actually been having a sore back since switching jobs, so I've been thinking about getting one of those support pillows. Thanks for the info.
Veronica from NY on September 10, 2007:
There are even companies that have ergodynamic departments, that will come to your cube and measure and observe you work, etc, and order you the proper foot lift, arm and wrist rests, keyboard, monitor lift, and chair to best help you maintain proper posture. I'm sure they are trying to eliminate carpal tunnel and lawsuits, and other things that stem from an unhealthy work space. Great article!
Marye Audet on September 10, 2007:
Yo mean sitting hunched over the laptop on the bed won't work?