May 20, 2019

Computer Ergonomics: How to Protect Yourself from Strain and Pain


Many people spend hours a day in front of a computer without thinking about the impact on their bodies. They physically stress their bodies daily without realizing it by extending their wrists, slouching, sitting without foot support and straining to look at poorly placed monitors.

In our last blog, we explained how we all deal with some amount of stress at work, but we can better manage it by moving around frequently and performing stretches right at our desks. These stretches are certain to make you feel more flexible and less cramped while sitting, but it’s also very important to use good desk ergonomics.

These practices can lead to cumulative trauma disorders or repetitive stress injuries, which create a life-long impact on health. Symptoms may include pain, muscle fatigue, loss of sensation, tingling and reduced performance.

Computer Ergonomics is a field of study that attempts to reduce strain, fatigue, and injuries by improving product design and workspace arrangement. The goal is a comfortable, relaxed posture.



Arrange Your Workstation: 


Every time you work, take time to adjust workstations that aren’t quite right in order to minimize awkward and frequently performed movements.

Luckily there are some very simple adjustments you can make right now that will make your desk-life a whole lot safer — and maybe even give your productivity a boost.




The height of the chair is critical: adjust it so that when your feet are flat on the floor, your knees are equal to or slightly below the chair’s height.

Adjust the back of the chair to slightly greater than a 90° reclined angle, push your hips back as far as they can go in the chair, and change your posture regularly.

Wrist posture should be kept neutral to reduce straining: adjust armrests so that your shoulders are relaxed and lower arms are supported.




The monitor should be centered directly in front of you, above the keyboard, about 2-3 feet from your face, right at or slightly below eye level

Position the keyboard directly in front of you and pull up close to it

Adjust keyboard height so shoulders are relaxed, elbows are in a slightly bent position, and wrists and hands are straight; to reach the keyboard, forearms should be near parallel to work surface

Place mouse as close to keyboard as possible to avoid overreaching




Arrange other items like your phone and documents within arms reach

Use a handset or speakerphone when on the phone to avoid neck or shoulder injury

Keep your head and neck balanced and in line with the torso

Move as frequently as possible to avoid staying in one place: it’s highly recommended to take 1-2 minute stretch breaks every 20-30 minutes and to change tasks or take longer (5-10 minute) breaks every hour

Most of these changes are simple but can have major implications in preventing a workplace injury and improving your overall mood on the job. It’s best to make these changes right away rather than waiting until you start noticing problems. To learn more about workplace ergonomics or for any aches or pains you might be experiencing, we can help. Call Health Plus Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Center in Edison, NJ at 732-494-5999 to schedule an appointment.

Cover Image credit: Designed by yanalya / Freepik

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