Neck pain is fairly common in office work.
And certain causes are also more frequent.
Let’s take a look at them, and at some solutions…
The position of the screen
In my office ergonomics practice, I meet many people suffering from neck pain. Oftentimes, people have their computer screen too high, too far or both!
My recommendation is simple: have your computer screen at a distance of about 40 cm to 70 cm from your eyes, and make sure that the top of the screen is at eye level.
For other people, the computer screen is too low. We see this often with people who work directly on their laptop.
To resolve this problem and prevent neck pain related to office work, you can choose to add an external keyboard and mouse. You could then put your laptop on a pile of books to raise its height. You can choose an external computer screen, especially if you have a very small laptop, and make sure the height of the monitor is appropriate.
If you use two screens, make sure to place your primary screen (the one you use the most) in front of you, and the other one to the side. If you use your screens equally, have them placed 50/50 on each side of you. Ideally, to really take good care of your neck: use the alt-tab function to get from a running program to the other, and keep it to one screen!
Reading documents and office neck pain
Yes, reading documents directly on the desk, and writing on them, can also lead to neck pain. Oftentimes, your head needs to be flexed, and sometimes rotated, to see what is down on the paper.
Using a document holder can help avoid this problem. You can use a model set on an articulated arm or another model that goes directly on the table with an incline. If you are looking for a cheap solution, try placing a good old empty binder between the keyboard and the computer screen!
To go beyond
Of course, every situation is unique and we are just providing some quick solutions here. These tips do not replace a complete assessment by a professional. You suffer from neck pain at the office? Don’t hesitate to ask for help if needed!
Post written by Emmanuel Benoit, Ergonomist, CIRC
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