With time spent in front of a computer now 9 hours per day for the average Australian, posture and desk ergonomics are greatly impacting our comfort and quality of life. Generally, people are now spending more time in front of a computer than they are sleeping. When this is coupled with 1 in 3 Australians using an electronic device resulting in over 20 billion texts being sent per year, device related back pain is unfortunately a present and future problem. Whilst we cannot address all problems arising from the use of electronic devices, we can adjust our computer desk environment.
So the real question is…
”What do I need and how should I set up my work station to make it as effective as possible in order to decrease its impact on my work, home and general life?”
1. Try out many chairs by sitting in them before you buy – COMFORT is crucial.
2. ARMRESTS must be capable of allowing elbows to rest on them comfortably without causing shoulders to be elevated near ears or too low that it causes you to slouch. Armrests need to be small enough that you can reach your keyboard on your desk while still having elbows at your side.
3. BACKREST preferably reaches shoulder height and has lumbar adjustment. If there is no lower back adjustment then you must test the seat to ensure it gives you enough support.
4. HEIGHT ADJUSTABLE. The chair must be height adjustable or specifically suited to your desk/work station. The chair must be capable of being high enough that with your elbows bent at 90o at your side you can comfortably reach your keyboard.
5. BASE of seat needs to be small enough that even when you are as far back in your seat as possible, your knees are not touching the front of the base of the seat. As your knees are not used to this pressure you will begin to subconsciously slide forward on the seat and therefore slouch.
6. FOOT REST if the desk is higher than required and feet cannot touch the ground then a foot rest is a good idea as it prevents slouching by ensuring low back is kept in contact with the back of the chair.
1. 2/3 of the screen must be situated above eye level with 1/3 below eye level. This prevents you from looking down for extended periods, which will increase neck flexion.
2. If possible have the screen directly in front of the seat. If using more than one screen, then ensure the screens are of equal distance to your face when looking straight ahead and ensure they are as close together as possible
Keyboard and mouse:
1. The keyboard and mouse need to be easily accessible without having to move your elbows away from the side of your body.
2. If possible, ensure the keyboard and mouse are on an equal level to your arm rests and do not require you to bring your forearms above elbow height in order to reach them as this can cause irritation through the carpal tunnel.
1. Document holders help to prevent you having to constantly look down. If possible, utilise the document holder so that the document is at the same height as your screen. This will prevent fatigue in both the neck and eyes as it decreases the amount of rotation through the neck and changes in visual focus.
1. If your job involves often being on the phone, then a headset will assist you. This allows you to talk and type at the same time but also prevents you from having extended periods with your neck bent to the side in order to hold the phone in place.
If you are experiencing neck or back pain from being on a device, book in for a FREE BACK PAIN ASSESSMENT by one of our qualified Osteopaths at www.livinghealthgroup.com.au/booking or call 9561 1958