Preventing computer-related joint pain

Stretch. Take a break. Stand often. These simple remedies will help guard against many of the common computer-related injuries we see today.

If you’re suffering joint and muscle problems – such as headaches and/or back, neck, shoulder and arm pain – chances are you work station needs adjusting. That’s because, although sitting requires less muscular effort than standing, it still causes physical tiredness. Holding parts of your body steady for long periods of time reduces circulation of blood to your muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments, sometimes leading to stiffness and pain. If a workstation is not set up properly, these steady positions can put even greater stress on your muscles and joints.

Tips to avoid joint and muscle problems:

  • Sit at an adjustable desk specially designed for use with computers.
  • Have the computer screen either at eye level or slightly lower.
  • Have your keyboard at a height that lets your elbows rest comfortably at your sides. Your forearms should be roughly parallel with the floor and level with the keyboard.
  • Adjust your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor, or use a footstool. Use an ergonomic chair, specially designed to help your spine hold its natural curve while sitting.
  • Use an ergonomic keyboard so that your hands and wrists are in a more natural position.
  • Take frequent short breaks and go for a walk, or do stretching exercises at your desk. Stand often.
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