Tips to Avoid Back And Neck Pain While Using Your Computer
Adults and students alike are spending more time at computers. Here are 9 simple ideas for perfect posture at home, work, and school.
Posture ranks at the top of the list when you are talking about good health. It is as important as eating right, exercising, getting a good night's sleep, and avoiding harmful substances. Unnatural alignment of the body can cause head, shoulder, neck, and back pain, and compromise neurological, digestive, respiratory, and cardiovascular functioning.
"We spend a large portion of our lives sitting, especially during the computer age, so it's important to learn to sit tall," explains Dr. Marvin Arnsdorff author of "Pete the Posture Parrot" (Body Mechanics Press, $16.00 at http://www.bodymechanics.com).  "One of the most common mistakes we make is that when we move into a sitting position, we tend to aim for the center of the chair. The proper method is to sit deep in your chair."
Unquestionably, students and adults alike spend more time at computers today than 20 years ago. Dr. Arnsdorff offers nine tips designed to keep your posture perfect when you're at the computer at home, at school, or at work:
- Sit up straight and deep in the seat. Feet should be flat on the floor or on a footrest.
- Keep lower arms level with the desk and wrists straight. (This helps to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.)
- Sit close enough to your keyboard to eliminate stretching, but far enough to avoid leaning. Your shoulders should be back and your head should be directly over your shoulders.
- Tap the keyboard lightly; don't pound.
- Place your mouse within easy reach of your dominant hand. Hold the mouse loosely.
- Place the monitor at eye level, 16 to 24 inches away.
- Take short stretch breaks every 20 minutes.
- Exercise eyes frequently. Look away and focus on distant objects.
- Periodically look up at the ceiling to give your posture muscles a break.
Good posture and body mechanics are an important part of having a healthy spine, nervous system, and even high self-esteem. See www.bodymechanics.com for more information on how kids of all ages can keep their backs healthy.