Friday, February 2, 2001
WHY COMPUTERS CAN BE A PAIN IN THE NECK
When people spend their days working at a computer, they often feel tension in the neck and upper back muscles. As people focus their attention on the monitor, they typically develop a head-forward posture -- where the head is held forward in relation to the gravity line of the body, which runs up the middle of the spine.
For most of us, this means that all of the muscles in the neck end up supporting the entire weight of the head -- which weighs 12-18 pounds in adults. When the head is forwards even as little as one inch in front of the gravity line, it becomes very taxing on the muscles of the neck and back. A number of these muscles are also big headache producers.
Solution: Ask a co-worker to look at your posture. Specifically, ask them to spot the location of your ear canal, which best approximates your head's center of gravity. Now look where the midline of the shoulder is, and look where the midline of the pelvis is while sitting. The best posture is when your ear canal lines up with your shoulder and your pelvis.
Listening to your body:
Close your eyes and sit for a minute. See if your shoulders are as relaxed as they could be. Are your shoulders resting forward or back in relation to the spine? Are you comfortable the way you are sitting? Comfort is your body's way of telling you whether or not your body is in an efficient position.
Bad ergonomic habits can be very difficult to break, partly because they are the result of neural motor learning. It will take some ongoing self-policing on your part to correct habits that lead to discomfort. Typically, you have to do something correctly at least 100 times before your nervous system begins to make new neural pathways to learn that motor skill. So you'll need to be very conscious, and tenacious about practicing good posture.
Software that helps computer users feel better?
Here is an informative evaluation of workplace intervention software for PC users, by Arthur Saltzman, Ph.D., California State University, San Bernardino, CA.
Click here to access the article.
MASSAGE WITH A DOT-COM TWIST
Erika Stutzman, business writer at The Boulder Daily Camera recently visited MassageSpecialists.com.
Click here to read her January 27th story.
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