Feeling achy and sore, with back pain, after using a computer? If so, you are among the thousands of Americans who are challenged ergonomically. The following tips from Anthro Corporation, Tualatin, Ore., producers of technology furniture, on how to alleviate causes should provide relief:
* Monitor surface too low. The monitor should be placed at about eye level so a user can keep his or her head in a relaxed position. Remember, the human head is as heavy as a bowling ball. Dropping it forward (or craning it up) puts a major strain on neck muscles.
* Typing surface too high. Most desks and tables are around 29 inches high, which is great for doing paperwork or writing. It’s terrible, though, for typing. The ideal keyboarding height for most people is around 26 inches. Experiment until you strike the “concert pianist pose”–arms close to body, elbows bent at 90[degrees], and forearms extended in a straight line from elbow to fingertip.
* Binders, printouts, and books out of line of sight. Never twist your neck or head to look at documents when typing. Working at a computer shouldn’t be like following a tennis match. Keep reference materials close to the monitor and at about the same height. Type by touch and memorize the keyboard commands to avoid head-bobbing.
* Nonsupportive chair. Sitting in a slumped or awkward position puts a strain on the back, shoulders, and neck. The chair should have a backrest, swivel base, and smooth-rolling casters. It should offer adjustment for the seat, back, and height. If raising the height lifts your feet off the floor, add a footrest. Try out a number of chair styles until you find one that’s just right for your body.
* Poor lighting. Cut the glare on your monitor screen by relying on indirect light, which is kindest to the eyes. Turn off harsh overhead lights. Close curtains or blinds. Position your monitor so windows are to the side of the screen or behind you. Use a clamp-on or desk lamp to illuminate small areas of your workstation.
* Rickety stands. Make sure that shelves and workstations are strong and durable with edges that are smooth and rounded. Shake stands vigorously to be sure they are stable enough to hold heavy hardware and reference materials. Mobile carts should have firmly fastened casters that glide smoothly and lock securely.
“How to prevent computer pain – Ergonomics – guidelines – Brief Article”. USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education). FindArticles.com. 08 Jun, 2011. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1272/is_2689_131/ai_92691022/