Poor posture combined with long hours at a keyboard and monitor can lead to a condition called “computer neck.” The symptoms include pain and tightness in the neck, shoulders and back. It can make working uncomfortable and inefficient and can impair your exercise and social life. Worse, computer neck can degrade into chronic pain — the kind that gets alternately better or worse with stress and overuse but that hardly ever seems to go away.
People who use computers for study and social activities are increasingly complaining of headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, arm pain, as well as numbness and tingling of the upper extremeties. This is compounded by constant texting with the head flexed forward while looking down at the screen. The bones and muscles of the spine adapt to that posture but will eventually lead to nerve involvement, muscle spasms and pain.
There is some good news, though. Kairen's Better Back programme can lead you towards pain free computing and study. Here are Karen's Top Tips:
1. Maintain good posture all day every day- sit tall and stand tall
2. Follow Kairen's neck excercise and stretching programme. Remember, 5 minutes of exercises per day will never fix 8 hours of slouching over a computer a day, so don't forget Top Tip 1!
3. Look at your computer not into it. This is a handy little mental reminder. You will see people all day looking INTO their computers. They slouch over their laptops and PC’s with a forward head posture doing damage to their necks all day and night. It is a sure way to continue a life of neck pain.
4. Make sure your computer screen is high enough and if using a laptop either get a remote keyboard or remote screen especially if your typing is poor and you need to look at the keys a lot-
5. Do not have your laptop on top of your lap! You can never hope to have a pain free neck if your workstation is poor ergonomically. Lift your screen up to eye level, make sure your screen is in front of you-not to one side and for goodness sake please don’t work with your laptop on top of your lap.
6. Learn to touch type so that you can avoid looking down at your keyboard
If you do spend hours at the computer it will help your neck a lot if you don’t have to look down at the keys as much so brush up on your typing skills-it will make a big difference not only to your neck but also to your work as well.
7. Don’t read in bed with many pillows behind your head pushing it forward
One of the worst things people do to their necks is push their heads forwards with pillows to read their books before bed. It jams the head into a position of strain again( forward head position). Wedge the pillows from your lower back upwards to create one big support as opposed to just pushing your head forward.
8. Sleep with your head and neck well supported and in neutral position-Do not sleep on your stomach. Have the best pillow for sleeping.
9. Don’t wedge the phone between your ear and shoulder-buy a headset if you have to be on the phone a lot
10. And of course, take regular breaks