Avoid Back Pain Caused by Computer Usage

How you use your computer can be a major cause of back, neck and shoulder pain. Poor posture while sitting at the computer, lack of regular breaks and exercise all contribute to the problem. Here's how to minimize the damage.

  • * Always sit in a good-quality, adjustable and comfortable office chair. Pull your chair close to the desk and adjust the seat height so that your elbows, hips and knees are bent at approximately 90 degrees. Your forearms should be parallel to or sloping down toward the desktop. Your feet should rest flat on the floor — use a footrest if necessary.
  • * Adjust the backrest of your chair to support the curve in your lower back and to help keep you upright when typing. Relax your shoulders.
  • * Sit straight and position your computer screen at a comfortable viewing distance, generally at arm's length. Keep the top of the screen below eye level and directly in front of you. Don't use your screen positioned to one side.
  • * Don't work from documents flat on the desk. Use a document holder set close to the screen at the same distance from your eyes, or prop your work on a folder between the keyboard and screen.
  • * Ensure your screen is easy to see. Eliminate reflections by adjusting and tilting the screen and ensure there are no light sources directly behind it. Adjust the brightness control to suit.