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Protect your neck in a home-based office

Lady sitting at table with laptop

Are you a nurse doing legal nurse consulting, expert work, or who has transitioned to a work-from-home status due to COVID?  When spending a lot of time working at a computer there are things to consider as far as body mechanics go! If you have been accustomed to working in a busy clinical setting on your feet all day, then you will probably notice some different aches and pains when shifting to more time sitting.

Three things to consider when doing computer work:

  1. Those who do office or computer work often lean forward towards their computer screen without realizing. This leaning forward changes the natural curvature of the neck and can result in a repetitive injury to the neck
  2. Body posture – reaching forward for the keyboard and mouse can strain the neck and shoulders, bending forward at the waist can put strain on the lumbar spine, and shoulders shrugging upwards while sitting when the keyboard is too far away
  3. Contact stress where pressure is placed on a body part can reduce blood flow, nerve function and inhibit tendon and muscle movement causing pain in the hands, forearms, thighs, shins and feet

(Phan – Spine Universe, 2020)

Four areas to combat discomfort while working:

  1. Body to chair – seat height should be high enough that it creates 90-degree bends in your hips and knees; don’t sit too low; put a pillow behind your back to reduce lower back stress
  2. Feet to floor – feet should be flat on the floor, knees parallel with the chair and legs a few inches away from the edge of the chair
  3. Mouse to keyboard – elbows should be at 90 degrees and wrists should lay as flat as possible on the table surface
  4. Monitor height – your eyes should be 2/3 of the way up the monitor and it may also be helpful to increase the font size, so you don’t subconsciously lean forward

(Phan – Spine Universe, 2020)

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Phan, M. (2020). 4 Areas of Focus That Will Save Your Neck While Working. Spine Universe.