As an Osteopath, I am regularly asked “What causes my problem? “,“Why does it keep recurring?”, “I don’t do anything to trigger it”
One reason is related to the repeated exposure to habitual poor postures and ergonomics, that many people are unaware of. We can be regularly spending 6 hours or more sitting at a computer. This can have a negative affect on our muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage and spinal discs.
Recently I had a patient with persistent neck pain. I asked her to send me some photos of how she sits working at her desk. We were both completely shocked at seeing her posture in the chair and recognised that this was probably the main cause of her problem. She had been sitting like this most of the day for years!
Now we are doing away with desktop computers at home, it is really important for us, and particularly our children who have growing spines, to have the correct ergonomic setup for working on the computer, to avoid risk factors causing pain, injury and disability. This includes a dedicated workspace with a decent desk and an ergonomic chair.
Sustained work on a laptop is not conducive to good musculoskeletal health,
especially when it’s done lying on the bed,
(as many teenagers tell me they do)!
For long term use, you would ideally have a desktop computer at home and use the laptop for mobility between work or school. If this is not possible, buy a separate monitor to plug your laptop into OR use a laptop stand to increase the height of the screen and use a separate keyboard and mouse.
Here are some basic, general tips for setting up your home space to help decrease the likelihood of musculo-skeletal problems due to poor posture.
KEYBOARD AND MOUSE
Avoiding constant sitting and observing the correct ergonomics will help reduce pain and strain due to fatiguing and cramping of the muscles in the arms, wrists, hands, neck and back. It also helps your posture over the long term.
Other benefits of proper sitting include reducing eye strain, reducing fatigue, preventing repetitive strain injuries (RSI), varicose veins, phlebitis and thrombosis and promoting blood circulation.
Don’t despair – sometimes small modifications can make a big difference.
Vanessa Malone, our osteopath, specialises in ergonomic workstation assessments. Comprehensive assessments can be done on site, and a Basic Assessment can be arranged via skype or email.
To book a home or office ergonomic assessment, or for more information please contact at