We often associate neck and back pain with either aging or perhaps chronic pain stemming from a car accident or injury.
Increasingly, however, young people are dealing with neck and back pain. This likely is the result of a more sedentary lifestyle.
Students and younger people may be spending hours at their desks and working on their computers, and that can not just cause pain in the neck and back but also other issues like neck strain and migraines.
Students need to be conscious of how they’re sitting to reduce pain and other negative effects.
The following are some ergonomic tips for students to reduce pain and injuries. These tips can also be useful for anyone who spends time working at a desk.
When you’re working or studying at your computer, remember the following tips that relate to your posture and position:
Use a chair with back support that helps promote good posture.
Be mindful of your posture. You might set an alarm that reminds you to check in on the posture you’re using at given intervals.
Keep your elbows close to your sides, and relax your shoulders.
Use pads to protect your elbows, so you don’t have to rest them on a hard surface.
When you’re using your computer keyboard, try to keep your wrists either neutral or straight. A wrist rest can help you do this.
Don’t put your wrists directly on your work table. Try to keep your arms floating above your keyboard as well as your wrist rest.
When you’re working you should take frequent breaks. You want to take short breaks more often rather than longer but less frequent ones. Try to get up at least once every hour to stretch and move around.
First and foremost when you’re setting up a study or workspace, you want to make sure your chair is the right size. An adjustable desk chair is the best option because you can make sure it fits you just right.
You should be able to lean back against the seat’s backrest and have the back of your knees be over the edge of the seat.
If you’re setting up a study space for your child, you might need a footrest, especially if they’re working in a chair designed for adults.
The computer monitor should be just slightly below eye level. If you’re looking up, it’s going to strain your neck, and if you’re looking down, it will as well.
It’s common to experience eyestrain when you’re using computers or other devices for long periods.
Computer vision syndrome can occur as well, with symptoms like burning, dry eyes, blurry vision, headaches, and light sensitivity.
To reduce these symptoms, customize your monitor. You can for example, set your monitor brightness to a low level. Having the top of your screen be at around the eye-level point will help.
Try to put at least 20 inches between your eyes and the screen, and you might want to use an anti-glare coating if you work near a window.
When you’re studying, blink a lot and let your eyes look at something else. You can close your eyes for a minute or look in the distance to reduce eye strain.
When you’re working at your computer, you should regularly move your position around and alternate tasks if you can so that you’re not making the same movements over and over again.
When you’re working on your keyboard, keep your knuckles and fingers relaxed. Tensing your hands while you’re typing can lead to overuse injuries.
Try not to hit the keyboard too hard, either.
Strive to make everything within easy reach, including your keyboard as well as your mouse if you use one.
When you’re working or studying, you want to make sure you keep the room at a good temperature for productivity. For example, in the summer, aim to have your space at a temperature of anywhere from 73 to 78 degrees. In the winter, you might want the temperature to be set between 68 and 73 degrees.
You don’t want a space that’s too warm, because it’ll make you feel more tired. If your workspace is too cold, it can be distracting.
Finally, taking care of your body when you aren’t studying or working is important too. Try to get plenty of exercise including cardio and strength training, because it’ll keep your mind and body in good shape and you’ll feel better when it’s time to study.