How to Sit Properly at a Computer to Avoid Neck Pain?

Recent studies conducted by the World Health Organization and the Archives of Internal Medicine have suggested that workers who spend a long time seated – 8 to 11 hours a day – have a 40% higher risk of succumbing to sudden death or suffering from disease as compared to people who remain seated for shorter periods of time. While it can be hard to avoid being seated in certain environments such as in your workplace, you can remain in good health by learning how to sit properly.

Part 1, Adopt a good postureSit at a Computer

1, Push your hips as far back as possible onto the seat. On office chairs, the best way of sitting is to allow the seat-back to support your back and shoulders by moving your pelvis as far back as possible on the seat, and by taking advantage of all of the seat’s adjustments in order to achieve maximum support.

  • If you sit on a straight-backed chair with a rigid seat-back, you should sit at the edge of the seat and try not to slouch against the seat-back. Sit with your back and shoulders as straight as possible – as if they were being supported by a seat-back. Over time, this position will become the most comfortable for your back, neck and shoulders.
  • When seated in a lounge chair or on a couch, it is important to keep your feet planted firmly on the ground as well as to keep your back straight. You should draw your shoulders back and lean forward as much as possible.

How to sit

2Keep your shoulders drawn back and your back straight. However and wherever you find yourself sitting, it is important that you keep your shoulders drawn back in order to avoid slouching or curving your spine while you are seated. Otherwise, over time, your neck and shoulders will be subjected to stress which can lead to chronic pain and headaches.

  • Do not tilt your seat forward and do not slouch backwards while you are sitting, otherwise you will be putting undue pressure on your sciatic nerve or shoulder muscles.
  • It is recommended that you gently move around in your chair whenever possible if you find yourself seated for long periods of time. This allows your body to stay active and balanced.

How to sit

3, Adjust the height of the seat to conform to your body. The seat should be at a height which allows your feet to be planted flat on the ground and which allows your knees to be at the same height as your hips – or slightly lower. Being seated too low can put strain on your neck, while being seated too high can be tiresome for your shoulders.

How to Sit Properly

4Adjust your seat-back to an inclination of between 100°- 110°. Ideally, the seat-back of passive inclination chairs should not be perfectly vertical, but rather slightly tilted backwards – past 90°. Such a position is far more comfortable and offers better back support than a perfectly vertical seat-back.

How to Sit Properly

5Make sure that the upper and lower parts of your back are supported. Good non-modular office chairs should offer lumbar support, bulging slightly at the level of the lower back in such a way as to support both ends of your spine, allowing you to sit up straight. If your chair does not provide this type of support, you can create your own in the the following way.

  • If necessary, place inflatable cushions or small pillows just above the level of your hips, between the seat-back and your spine. This should offer an immediate improvement to your level of comfort.
  • If your seat is equipped with a mechanism to allow you to easily make changes to the seat-back’s position, while you are at work, vary its position from slightly more to slightly less tilted backwards; doing so will prevent your back from remaining immobile.

How to Sit Properly

6Adjust the armrests. Ideally, your chair’s armrests should be adjusted in such a way as to allow your shoulders to relax and to align your wrists with your keyboard if you work at a computer. Read the following section for specific suggestions regarding working at a computer.

It is also possible to completely remove the armrests if you feel that they are getting in the way as they are not an essential element in the maintenance of proper posture.

Part 2, Sitting properly at the office or in front of a computer

How to Sit Properly

1, Push your hips as far back as possible onto the seat. On office chairs, the best way of sitting is to allow the seat-back to support your back and shoulders by moving your pelvis as far back as possible on the seat, and by taking advantage of all of the seat’s adjustments in order to achieve maximum support.

  • If you sit on a straight-backed chair with a rigid seat-back, you should sit at the edge of the seat and try not to slouch against the seat-back. Sit with your back and shoulders as straight as possible – as if they were being supported by a seat-back. Over time, this position will become the most comfortable for your back, neck and shoulders.
  • When seated in a lounge chair or on a couch, it is important to keep your feet planted firmly on the ground as well as to keep your back straight. You should draw your shoulders back and lean forward as much as possible.

How to Sit Properly

2, Position your keyboard correctly. Adjust the height of your keyboard in such a way as to allow your shoulders to be relaxed and your elbows to be slightly apart from the rest of your body; your wrists should also be aligned with your hands.

  • Use the adjustable feet on the bottom of your keyboard to adjust its inclination in order to achieve a more comfortable typing position. If you find yourself sitting in a straight up position or leaning forward, try tilting your keyboard further away from you. If on the other hand you tend to lean backwards, try tilting your keyboard more towards you. This will allow you to keep your wrists straight.
  • Ergonomic keyboards are bent in the middle so that the keys align better with the wrist’s natural rest position, allowing you to type with your thumbs pointing upwards rather than with the palms of your hands parallel to the ground. Consider investing in an ergonomic keyboard if you are experiencing wrist pain.

How to Sit Properly

3, Properly adjust your display as well as any document holders. Ideally, your neck should remain in a natural and relaxed position so that you are not required to turn your head in order to see what you are working on. Center your display directly in front of you, above your keyboard.

  • Position your screen so that the its top is 5-6 cm above your eye-level while you are in a seated position.
  • ·If you wear corrective lenses, raise the display to a height which allows for comfortable reading.

How to Sit Properly

4, Consider using an ergonomic mouse. An ergonomic mouse allows your wrist to remain parallel to the rest of your body – in a relaxed position – rather than being parallel to the ground, something which can result in carpal tunnel problems.

  • ·Using the touchscreen and mouse on most laptops has the same effect as using a conventional keyboard, that is to say that they force your wrists to adopt an unnatural position. Over time, this can lead to carpal tunnel problems and chronic pain.

5, Take periodic breaks. Every 30-60 minutes, you should idealy take a short break and move around in your office. This could be, for example, a short break to go to the bathroom or to get a glass of water – enough movement to break the monotony and alleviate any body strain. While you might feel a little foolish doing so, try closing the door to your office and doing these small exercises to promote better blood circulation:

  • raise your shoulders 5-10 times
  • extend your feet 20 times
  • move forward 5-10 times
  • touch your toes 20 times

How to Sit Properly

6, Remain as active as possible while at work. If you work in an office, it is absolutely essential that you periodically stand up and move around in order to avoid pain related to stress on your body as well as to prevent long-term damage to your arms, neck, shoulders and back. You can consult these articles to learn other tips for staying active in the workplace.

Tips

  1. When you are just beginning to adopt a better posture, you might find it uncomfortable at first. However, after repeatedly adopting the new position, your body will eventually adopt the proper posture on its own!
  2. If your lower back or shoulders ache, your are doing something incorrectly and should go over the advice for proper posture again.
  3. Always sit in the position which is most comfortable to you, even if it appears strange.

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