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5 Ways to Prevent Injury While Sitting at the Computer

Updated: Feb 27

Inevitably, many of us find ourselves using a computer for many hours a day which can mean that we are feeling the effects of the development of carpal tunnel, a sore back, strained eyes, and maybe even headaches.

office desk

According to Jennifer Thames, Physical Therapist of Gundersen Moundview Hospital and Clinics, easing some of the strain on your body can easily be accomplished with simple adjustments to your sitting arrangement at the computer.

1. Wrist rests for your keyboard and mouse

Keeping your wrists in a neutral position is one of the biggest keys for helping to avoid carpal tunnel. Wrist rests can definitely help with that, too. Amazon and office stores have affordable options for your keyboard and mouse. Also, if you use a laptop, connecting a wireless keyboard and mouse will help ease some of the strain. Laptop mousepads are not well suited for comfort.

2. Ergonomic office chair with armrests

Your office chair should have armrests so you can rest your elbows on the chair arms and take some pressure off your shoulders and upper back. To help your lower back, an ergonomically shaped chair, or a pillow in the small of your back will help you sit up straight.

A few more tips:

  1. Position your neck as straight as possible

  2. Relax your shoulders

  3. Keep your elbows at 90 degrees

  4. Slightly recline your back

  5. Maintain a slight inward curve in your low back

  6. Put two inches between the chair seat and the back of your knees

  7. Keep your feet flat on the floor, or use a footrest if needed

  8. Position items in front of you, not to the side

3. Take breaks! (& do stretches)

Give your eyes, back, and shoulders a rest by taking breaks. These breaks can be as simple as standing up and doing a few shoulder rolls or as long as taking a walk. It is ideal to take breaks at least every twenty minutes. Stretches would be most helpful in preventing injury, there are selected stretches that could help target specific areas of tension.