May is Correct Posture Month, and while we know that’s not a very glamorous awareness campaign, we think it’s pretty important. If you work in an office or at a computer for a good portion of any day, May is a great time to consider your posture and how it might be impacting your overall health.
Sitting at a computer correctly can help you reduce repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons provides some tips for sitting properly while working on a computer. First, you’ll need a chair that you can adjust for proper height and that fits your height and weight for good support. The Academy also recommends a chair with a five-point base for safety.
Set your chair at a height that puts your desk at elbow level when you sit. Ensure room beneath the desk is clear so that your legs and knees fit comfortably. If your feet don’t touch the ground so that your knees are gently bent, use a foot stool or small box for foot elevation.
Avoid sitting so that your keyboard is off center. The keyboard and monitor should be directly in front of your body. Experts recommend an optimal typing position that keeps the top of your arms perpendicular to the floor and your wrists as straight as possible.
When mousing, consider moving your entire arm and not just your wrist. The size of the mouse does matter — choose a mouse that fits well in the palm of your hand. Position your monitor at eye level so you don’t have to look up or down — you might need to use a rise to do this.
Positioning your body and your computer for proper posture reduces aches and pains and mitigates risks for repetitive motion injuries. If you already suffer from severe repetitive motion injury that keeps you from work or requires medical attention, you might be able to file a workers’ compensation claim to help cover the costs.
Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, “How to Sit at a Computer,” accessed April 29, 2016