It is easy to get so immersed in a project that you forget everything else. Sometimes it’s a great feeling, especially when you are working on something that you are passionate about. However, this can also be a recipe for neck and upper back problems. Now, imagine that you are working on something that you are not passionate about, add some tension in the mix and soon you will have problems.
It is very easy to forget about prevention until you are in pain. But there are a few things you can do that are simple, quick, and will yield tremendous health benefits if practiced regularly.
- Stop what you are doing, sit up straight and take a few deep breaths in and out
- Look away from the screen and close your eyes while inhaling and exhaling deeply
- Give your arms and wrists regular breaks from the keyboard, and move them around gently.
- Stand up at your workstation and walk around every 30–40 minutes
- Pay attention to the adjustment of your chair and backrest – make sure that the chair is not too high or too low for you
- Consider investing in the right equipment – a backrest, different keyboard, document holder (holds documents next to you while you are typing)
- Don’t ever make your phone “hands free” by holding it between your ear and shoulder. This is a recipe for serious neck pain, even if you do it occasionally. Use your speakerphone, ear buds or a handsfree device.
- Make sure your computer screen is at the proper level for you.
- Even if you are rushed and stressed, try to unclench your muscles and sit in a relaxed manner.
Bad habits at the computer not only cause neck pain, they can cause (or increase) headaches, shoulder pain, leg pain, eyestrain and dryness and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Give it a try! You’ll be surprised at the difference a few changes can make.