In last months email, we talked about “Text-Neck.” Text-Neck is not only brought on by the overuse of smart phones, but can be initiated by prolonged computer usage. Unfortunately, many Americans’ jobs require sitting in front of a computer for 8+ hours a day (I bet you’re doing it right now). So what should you do about it? Quit your job!! Just kidding, don’t do that. Try these tips instead.
1. Proper Desk Ergonomics:Chair/Posture– chair height should be low enough that both feet rest flat on the floor, but high enough that the thighs are parallel to the floor. If the desk is too tall, a foot stool may be necessary so your feet rest flat. Sit with back against backrest and butt near the back of the seat. Knees should be level with or slightly below the hips. If the chair does not have a lumbar support, putting a small cushion or pillow behind the low back may be helpful.
Computer monitor– top of the screen should be at, or slightly below eye level. Make sure the computer is directly in front of you, about arms length away, not off to either side. When typing, arms should be close to the body and elbows bent to 90 degrees. Hands should be level with or slightly below elbows. Keep wrists straight, not bent up or down or to either side.
Phone/Headset– if your job requires frequent use of a phone or if you need to use the phone and type/write at the same time, a headset should be used. This will help to avoid holding the phone between your ear and shoulder.
2. Desk Stretches and Posture Correcting Exercises:Bruegger’s Exercise– should be performed 1 time/hour for every hour of sitting.
- Start with sitting at the edge of your seat, knees facing out at about 45 degrees, feet flat on the ground. Sit up tall.
- Relax your shoulders; arms should hang loosely at your sides with palms facing forward. Thumbs should be pointing backwards slightly.
- Retract your chin/head, so that your ears are over your shoulders, not in front.
- Take about 5 deep breaths in while holding this posture. Repeat 5-6 times throughout day.
Corner Pectoral Stretch– perform 2-3 times/day.
- Stand with feet together, facing a corner in the room
- Bend elbows to 90 degrees and place both palms and elbows on the walls
- Elbows should be at shoulder height
- Shift body weight to the front of your toes and lean your whole body in towards the corner.
- You should feel a pull/stretch in your chest and upper arms
- Hold for about 10 seconds and repeat 3 times.