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Good computer posture

I see a lot of client desk setups with bad angling, low/high heights and basically all the ingredients for carpal tunnel syndrome. If you're spending a lot of time on computers, the least you can do for your own sake is to check your posture. Take your shoulders, move them forward, then up, then back, then let them drop. That's where your shoulders should be all the time when you're working with computers. If they start coming forward because you're reaching too far forward to grasp the mouse or the keyboard, you start to do damage to your shoulders by loosening the muscles which help hold the bones in place. Personally I have a dicky shoulder for this exact reason.

Secondly, drop your arms to your sides and let them hang. Then, bring your lower arms up so that they're at a roughly 90 degree angle to your body. That's how your arms should be all the time, when you're working on computers. Move your mouse and keyboard on your desk so that they match the location of your hands. Lastly, from where you're sitting, raise or lower your computer screen so that the very top of the visible screen is at eye level. That's where it should be in order for your neck to be at the correct angle. If your neck is tilting down, that places load on your neck muscles and can lead to problems later on.

If you don't have a chair or desk which allows you to correctly adjust your height to achieve this, buy one, they're cheap. A lot cheaper than the medical bills later on when you get bursitis in your shoulder blade or carpal tunnel in your hands. The correct chair will provide lower back support while leaving your shoulders and arms relatively unobstructed. You can also try kneeling chairs, or standing desks, depending on your preference.

Laptops are tricky because - by default - you're using them on your lap, or on a desk, with poor neck angle. I would encourage you to use them at a desk where possible to enable correct arm and shoulder posture, and to use an external monitor so you get your neck angle correct, or alternatively to raise the laptop to the correct eye height and use an external mouse and keyboard to get the arm/shoulder angle right.

Whether you're sitting, standing, kneeling or dancing, try to keep your joints in line - otherwise they might not like you much later on!

- Matt Bentley, computer expert at Bentley Home PC Support.
Email info@homepcsupport.co.nz or phone 0211348576.

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