As students are soon returning to school via remote learning or in person, or if you are working from home or returning to the office, it’s a good time to assess your computer workstation setup for you and your children in order to avoid developing painful muscle and joint problems associated with an improper setup. Here are some computer workstation tips:
• Make sure your feet are flat on the floor. If your legs don’t reach the ground you can add a step stool, box or cushion underneath your desk. Your knees and hips should be bent at a 90 degree angle, which helps to evenly distribute weight throughout the body.
• Consider investing in an adjustable office chair. This is especially helpful when working from home with multiple people sharing the workstation.
• Sit up straight in your chair when working on a computer or laptop, with your back supported by your chair and feet on the floor with at least one to two inches between the back of the knees and the seat of the chair.
• Your hands, wrists, and forearms should be parallel with the floor at your side, and elbows bent no more than 90 degrees. Shoulders should be relaxed and not hunched over; shoulder blades should be resting on the back of the chair to help reduce slouching, leaning into the computer or tilting far away.
• Armrests, if used, should be adjustable and support the forearms parallel with the floor with your wrists straight.
• Use a keyboard tray. Some workstations allow space for a keyboard tray for better alignment, which also helps alleviate hunched shoulders and strained neck muscles. A wireless external keyboard is worth the investment if using a laptop computer to help assure a better computer set up.
• The top of the computer screen or monitor should be level or slightly below eye level. You can raise a laptop or monitor up on a box or ream of paper and use an external keyboard.
• Be sure to take frequent breaks to stretch and rest your eyes. A good recommendation is to take a break every 30 minutes. Try setting a timer for break reminders if needed. Be sure to stretch with turning your head side to side, shoulder rolls, stretch your arms above your head and behind your back, or marching in place to decrease stress and strain throughout the body and to help with blood flow.
• If you begin to exhibit fatigue, headaches, tightness or cramping in the neck, shoulders, back, forearms or wrists, take a break! It’s also important to intervene early to prevent issues or possible injury.
If you have questions or need assistance setting up your computer workstation, or already experiencing some discomfort, please contact the Northern Rehab team! A Physical Therapist can help you improve and resolve your recurring aches & pains, avoid further injury, and help you start feeling better right away! Choose physical therapy first and let the Northern Rehab team eliminate pain, optimize your function, and be one step closer to living pain free. No doctor prescription needed; now accepting same or next day appointments at our clinics in DeKalb, Genoa and Rochelle.