Ask A Pro

Q

My back gets sore when working on my computer. Could my work station be set up wrong?

 
A

In today’s computer age, back injuries are becoming more and more common. It is important to maintain correct ergonomics as well as postural awareness to limit the amount of stress placed on muscles and joints. Perhaps the most important ergonomic component to consider is your chair. Your seat height should be at knee level when standing. When sitting, your hips should be pushed as far back in the chair as possible. Your feet should be flat on the floor with your knees equal or slightly lower than your hips. Incorrect positioning of your monitor can create back or neck pain. Position your monitor at an arm’s length away. The monitor should be directly in front of your eyes. If you wear bifocals, lowering the monitor may be necessary to provide comfortable reading. Your head should be positioned over the shoulders without excessively straining forward or backward. Another important ergonomic factor is that of your keyboard. The keyboard should be directly in front of you. Adjust its height so that your shoulders are relaxed and elbows are at a 90° angle between the arm and forearm. Wrist and hands should be in a relaxed position. An articulating (or split) keyboard may also be beneficial in order to reduce strain onto wrists, elbows, shoulders, and back. Other tips include using a headset if you do a lot of phone work, avoid overreaching (keeping mouse and keyboard within close reach), and taking frequent stretch breaks (every 20-30 minutes).

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