Is Your Computer Causing You Back and Neck Pain?

If you’re anything like the 42% of Americans who work remotely from home, you may have noticed a significant increase in the time you spend sitting in front of the computer. It can be easy to get caught up in work and spend hours seated in the same position, but this practice can also have some painful side effects, including new or worsening back and neck pain.

More than ever, adults who use a computer for more than 20 hours each week are seeing a significant increase in the discomfort they experience after a prolonged time sitting at their computers. This trend is on the rise, but there are ways to solve this problem, the first of which is to identify the root cause of your pain.

Take a look below as we explore some of the different ways that your computer may be causing you neck and back pain, as well as ways that you can adjust your workstation to both reduce discomfort and increase productivity.

Adjust Your Monitor and Keyboard to the Right Position

One of the most common mistakes that occur among computer users is having an incorrect monitor and keyboard set-up. Many individuals work from laptops that have a fixed layout, whereas others work with a desktop computer that can be adjusted more easily. If you have a laptop, you should ensure that you:

  • Support your wrists with a rest pad at the keyboard and mouse
  • Keep the screen level with your vision (you should not have to bend your neck)
  • Use a laptop dock to raise the computer to a comfortable height

Individuals with a desktop computer have similar options, including:

  • Position your keyboard directly in front of you so your elbows are at a 90-degree angle
  • Keep your mouse at the same level as your keyboard
  • Consider placing the monitor on a stand to keep the screen at eye-level

Not only does the location of your computer screen and keyboard impact your neck and back, but it can also affect your overall posture. Maintaining good posture is an important part of avoiding long-term pain that can occur with extended computer use.

Reduce Discomfort with Better Computer Posture

It may seem simple, but something as easy as correcting your posture can change the way your neck and back feel while you are working on a computer. You may be accustomed to the hunched-over position that many individuals take when they are typing on a keyboard, but it can be irrevocably damaging to sit that way for hours each day.

In order to have the proper posture when using a computer, start with keeping the computer screen at eye level and your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle, as previously mentioned. In addition to angling your monitor and the way your arms rest when you type, you should also:

  • Ensure both of your feet are flat on the floor
  • Sit up straight with your back against the chair
  • Keep your head up and your chin forward

Many individuals who are used to sitting in an uncomfortable position in front of a computer for hours can have difficulty transitioning into a new posture. This is often due to long-term tension and tight muscles, but once you develop the habit, your improved posture will be able to help reduce the discomfort you experience from working at a computer.

Is a Standing Desk Good for Relieving Neck and Back Pain?

The standing desk has become much more popular in recent years, with many offices incorporating them into their layout. These desks provide a variety of benefits for some employees, especially those who suffer from lower back pain and stiff joints.

Anyone looking to add a standing desk to their home office should keep in mind that they will receive the most benefit from:

  • Standing on a soft surface rather than a firm one
  • Shifting positions every 20 minutes
  • Sitting down and resting every 30 minutes

Standing for an extended period of time can be just as damaging as prolonged sitting and may cause muscle tension and stiffness. Anyone looking to invest in a standing desk should look for one that is comfortable and ergonomically designed, allowing for the right amount of relaxation, focus, and pain relief.

Find Long-Term Back and Neck Pain Relief at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgeons

When at-home remedies aren’t enough to bring you pain relief, it may be time to speak with an experienced medical professional about your back and neck pain. After years of sitting improperly at a computer, you may have developed a condition that only a doctor can diagnose and treat. If you’re looking for long-term pain relief from back and neck discomfort, the team at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgeons can help you.

Don’t suffer from chronic neck and back pain any longer. Call us today at (855) 853-6542 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our trusted physicians.

COVID-19 UPDATE: Due to ongoing efforts to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in our communities, our office hours may vary. However, our physicians will be offering ONLINE appointments during this time to address your medical needs. To learn more about this exciting new service, contact our patient advocates today!