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Moving Toward Better Health

The official blog of Konicki Schumacher Chiropractic


Computer Aches and Pains

Posted by Dr. Tom Konicki
Dr. Tom Konicki
Dr. Thomas Konicki earned his B.S. in Biology at the University of Cincinnati and then went on to the Los Ange...
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in Self-Care/Prevention

Question: I sit at the computer and my neck and back hurt by the end of the day. What can I do to avoid this?

Answer: Sitting at a computer can be much harder on your back and neck than you would suspect. Correct posture is absolutely essential for avoiding pain because of the long hours that you stay in one position. The American Chiropractic Association promoted May as Correct Posture Month. This is because poor posture adds stress to your muscles and joints and causes you to expend more energy to function. Long-term poor posture can lead to osteoarthritis as well as impair your breathing, circulation and even digestion.

If you work at a computer, do the following:

Make sure your chair fits correctly. There should be two inches between the front edge of the seat and the back of your knees. This allows circulation in your legs.

Sit with your knees at approximately a 90-degree angle. Use an angled footrest to support your feet if you do not touch the floor easily.

Position your computer monitor so that the top of the screen is at eye level (or where your chin hits the middle of your screen). You may need this somewhat lower if you wear bifocals and look downward at the screen. Ultimately, you do not want your neck bending forwards or extending backwards to see the monitor.

Keep your wrist in neutral position while you type, not bent up or down. A wrist rest may help. Don't reach out for the mouse, which requires holding your arm away from your body. This will lead to shoulder and neck strain.

Take frequent, short breaks from the computer. Stretch your arms, hands, shoulders and neck during your break. Your doctor of chiropractic can instruct you on proper stretches.

Be sure your monitor is straight in front of you and not off to the side. If you have to twist your neck to see the monitor, you will eventually have pain.

Don't cradle a telephone between your ear and shoulder while typing on the computer. This often strains your neck. If you need to talk on the phone and type on the computer simultaneously, get a headset or speakerphone.

Avoid glare on your screen. This leads to eyestrain and can cause headaches.

Get computer glasses. Adults that require bifocals sometimes have difficulty reading the monitor. It is not quite close enough or far away. Your optometrist can fit with you these.

Your elbows should be bent at a 75-90 degree angle when typing on the keyboard.

In summary, the two most important things you can do is have your chair and computer fit you correctly and take regular breaks. Doctors of chiropractic regularly treat neck pain, headaches and back pain as well as carpal tunnel as a result of too much computer use. If these suggestions do not help, you may benefit from chiropractic care.

Copyright © 2008 - Konicki Schumacher Chiropractic. All rights reserved.

Dr. Tom Konicki is a board certified chiropractic orthopedist and has practiced for many years in South Dayton. You can reach him at www.kschiro.com or mail your questions to Ask the Chiropractor, 2165 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Dayton, Ohio 45459.

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