Tips and Advice

All the latest news and tips from Kingsbridge Chiropractic Clinic

Computer Sense

26th October 2012

Computer Sense

At home, at school or college, at work or on the move, more and more of us are spending large parts of our day using a computer. When sitting and concentrating on the screen for so long, we may not be aware that the position we are in could be harmful to our spine. To help maintain a better ‘computer posture’ and protect our backs, chiropractor Fiona Webb has some advice to keep in mind when browsing, emailing, twittering or blogging.

Essential Adjustments
• Always take the time to adjust your chair, particularly if you share your computer with others.

• Your seat should be adjusted so that your feet are flat on the ground, your knees bent, but with a slope from your hips to your knees. You should end up with your hips higher than your knees and your eyes level with the top of the computer screen. You may need to put the screen on a stand or even on a ream of paper to bring it to the right height.
• Relax when sitting into your chair. Make sure you have your bottom all the way back in the seat with your shoulder blades touching the back rest of the chair.
• Your arms should be flat and your elbows level with the desk or table you are using. A seat with arm rests makes this easier.
• Take regular breaks. If possible, you should aim to be at the computer for no more than 40 minutes at a time. When you take a break, walk around and stretch a little; do something completely different.

Out and About with the Laptop
The portability of a laptop makes it very convenient and flexible to use, but it is tempting to use them in situations where you might be in an awkward position. Laptops are not very “neck-friendly”, and the same applies to iPads, Kindles and smart phones.
• If using a laptop, invest in a stand to put it on (or use a ream of paper or other object). This ensures the screen is at eye level.
• For laptops used in the home, it is a good idea to buy a normal keyboard and mouse to plug in, as this makes it much easier to use the laptop in a more ‘back friendly manner’.
• When on the move with your laptop, take time to check your bag or briefcase for items you will not need. It is amazing how much unwanted ‘stuff’ quickly accumulates and the additional weight in your bag is extra weight that your shoulders and back have to bear.
• Use a rucksack design laptop case. This way you can distribute the weight across both shoulders.
• If you are on the train and must use your laptop, try not to do so for long periods. Looking down at the screen extends the neck and leaves the upper spine unsupported.

“Chiropractic is best known for treating back and neck pain,” says Fiona, “but patients also consult chiropractors regarding a variety of other conditions. Treatment involves gentle, specific spinal movements to allow joints that are stiff to begin moving properly.”

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