The next big thing has to be computer monitors that come adjustable instead of the one-size-fits-none that is currently available. I have yet to see a monitor come straight out of the box and be at the right height for someone (or anyone’s) neck.
If you want to save your neck, prevent bad posture, and keep yourself from experiencing daily headaches — raise the height of your screen. While current ergonomic wisdom seems to recommend that you put the top of your monitor screen at eye-level, we recommend putting the middle of your screen at eye-level instead.
This simple monitor tweak has helped our patients more than getting a new ergonomic mouse pad or even a new high-priced chair. Some patients raise their monitor even higher at first to try to undo some of the damage they’ve experienced over the years.
Long-term, it can get tiring to keep your screen that high, but keeping the middle of the screen as your starting point will help a lot. If you can’t get your boss to pay for a new monitor stand (they’re not that expensive), we’ve had patients supplement with books or even reams of paper to achieve the right height.
You’ll read about this repeatedly throughout this blog, but your head is heavy! Your head can weigh anywhere from 8-10lbs. Every inch your head moves forward increases the amount of pressure placed on your neck by a factor of 10! That means a 10lb head may as well be a 20lb head if your head is forward by an inch. Most people jut their head out more than that.
Think about carrying something that weighs 10lbs. If you hold it close to your body, you can hold it all day. If you extend your arm and try to carry that same weight, your arm will give out in a matter of minutes. Thankfully, our neck doesn’t just give out like our arm would.
Instead, the neck tenses, tightens, and pulls on the back of the head. This is what leads to headaches, neck pain, and bad posture. If you were to just sit there for a few minutes, no problem. However, we don’t do that, do we? We sit hunched in front of our computer for hours every single day. Conservatively, you will spend 200 hours each month in a hunched over posture. It really starts to add up!
While this blog covers many things you can do to improve your posture, making small tweaks to your daily activities will also add up when multiplied by the number of hours you used to do it incorrectly. Make the simple tweak of raising your monitor height and you’ll see immediate results.
You may get a few funny looks the first time someone sees your screen raised up, followed by “I wonder if I should do that?” and then you’ll see monitors raising up all over the office. Better posture is about doing more of the right things more often, so be on the lookout for small but important changes you can make in your daily activities to spend more time in the right positions.