Anyone who has suffered with back pain will tell you how badly it has affected them.
Vantage IT has always been an advocate of the importance of good posture, particularly for workers that spend lengthy periods of time in front of a computer. Sitting in the correct position and arranging your working environment appropriately can help avoid injury.
With this in mind, we have provided details from a helpful guide courtesy of the NHS and added a couple of our own tips.
- Start with how you sit Try to avoid back pain by adjusting your chair so that your lower back is properly supported. A correctly adjusted chair will reduce the strain on your back. If possible, get a chair that is easily adjustable so you can change the height, back position and tilt. Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips.
Your feet should be flat on the floor. If they are not, ask if you can have a footrest which lets you rest your feet at a level that is comfortable. Do not cross your legs as this can cause posture-related problems.
Your chair height should be set so that you can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor. This can help to prevent repetitive strain injuries. Your elbows should be by the side of your body, so that the arm forms an L-shape at the elbow joint.
- Place your screen at eye level Your screen should be directly in front of you. A good guide is to place the monitor about an arm’s length away, with the top of the screen roughly at eye level. To achieve this, you may need to have a display with an adjustable stand or perhaps place it on something to raise it to the correct height. Lowering the display is normally not possible which is why an adjustable stand is the better option. If the screen is too high or too low, you will have to bend your neck, which can be uncomfortable.
- Using the keyboard Place your keyboard in front of you when typing. Leave a gap of about 100mm-150mm (four to six inches) at the front of the desk to rest your wrists between bouts of typing. Your wrists should be straight when using a keyboard. Keep your elbows vertical under your shoulder and right by your side. Some people like to use a wrist rest to keep their wrists straight and at the same level as the keys.
- Keep your mouse close Position and use the mouse as close to you as possible. A mouse mat with a wrist pad may help to keep your wrist straight and avoid awkward bending. If you are not using your keyboard, push it to one side if using the mouse a lot.
- Avoid screen reflection Your screen should be as glare-free as possible. If there is glare on your screen, hold a mirror in front of the screen so you know what is causing it. Try to position the monitor to avoid reflection from overhead lighting and sunlight. If possible, pull blinds across the windows and replace ceiling lighting with table lights. Adjusting the screen’s brightness or contrast can make it much easier to use.
- Working with spectacles People with bifocal spectacles may find them less than ideal for computer work. It is important to be able to see the screen easily without having to raise or lower your head. If you cannot work comfortably with bifocals, you may need a different type of spectacles. Consult your optician if in doubt.
- Make objects accessible Position frequently used objects, such as your telephone or stapler, within easy reach. Avoid repeatedly stretching or twisting to reach things.
- Avoid phone strain If you spend a lot of time on the phone, try exchanging your handset for a headset. Repeatedly cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder can strain the muscles in your neck. Using a headset also frees up your hands for typing, writing or holding your cup of tea!
- Move about! Don’t be tempted to spend all day sat in front of your computer. Try to have lunch away from your desk and if possible, use a printer on the other side of the office. Instead of messaging people in the same office, why not walk over and talk to them?
We hope you find these tips helpful. If you require information concerning the IT equipment available (such as height adjustable displays) please contact us.
More details about back pain, its causes and ways to improve your posture can be found on the NHS website.
Please note that all posture related concerns should be referred to a medical professional. Our guide is for general reference only and does not represent medical advice.