Tips for dealing with Aching Computer Pains

Body MechanicsBody MechanicsBody Mechanics June 22, 2012

Do you suffer from neck pain and fatigue? Is your neck tired after periods of time spent at the computer?

For people who spend a great deal of time using computers, neck pain is a common problem. Neck pain is considered pain experienced anywhere from the base of the skull at ear level to the upper part of the back or shoulders. The factors involved in neck pain can be complex and include physical, psychological, individual, and environmental sources. However, research shows that office workers and computer users experience the highest incidence of neck pain of all workers.

If you use your computer extensively, avoid neck injuries and aches by adhering to these tips!

  • Use correct posture including keyboard and pointing device techniques.
  • Be wary of your workstation layout
  • Take frequent rest breaks and stretch

If you use a computer for several hours each day, many experts recommend that you consider proper workstation layout and posture techniques to minimize your risk of developing injuries of the hand/arm, shoulder, neck, and back.

Most believe that working for extended lengths of time in static or uncomfortable positions may be related to musculoskeletal injury. These experts note that problems with workstation set up for some may include using a chair that is the wrong height or size or does not support your back.

The ideal workstation lets you work in natural/comfortable postures that can be dynamic or easy to change and may minimize strain on your body. A workstation mismatched with your body can force you into harmful postures such as hunching over, slouching, straining, or twisting. A good chair is critical! Consider a chair with a backrest that supports the curve of your lower (lumbar) back. Remember to sit back in the chair when you work at a computer. Move and change posture frequently.

Improper location of the keyboard/mouse will have impact on your posture and comfort, as well. Vertical position should be about two inches below elbow height, when your arms are relaxed and at your sides. Horizontal position should be as close to you as possible, to minimize extending your arms out from your body. This will decrease shoulder elevation and fatigue in the upper back and neck.

Also, correct placement of your monitor may help you to prevent eye strain, neck pain and shoulder fatigue by keeping your head and neck as straight as possible. Experts suggest that your monitor should be separate from your keyboard and centered directly in front of you. When typing from a document, remember to position a document holder between the monitor and keyboard or to the side of your dominant eye to avoid twisting your neck to view the material.

Note that your body is not designed to sit still. Taking ERGO breaks, microbreaks of 30 seconds once every 20 to 40 minutes can help. Basic stretching exercises can also help the joints and muscles you use when you sit at a computer.

Try Some of these Stretching Exercises:

  • Stand up and stretch your arms over your head.
  • For your neck: Tilt your head to one side (ear to shoulder); hold; relax; repeat on other side.
  • For your shoulders: Slowly bring shoulders up to the ears and hold briefly.
  • For your wrist: Hold arm straight out in front of you; pull hand backwards with other hand, then pull downward; hold; relax; repeat with other hand.
  • Download “Ergo Break” PDF

One thought


  • Lovetta Guardia

    i need a special chair to make my back not hurt

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