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How to avoid back problems working on a computer

3 Easy Ways to Prevent Back Problems When Working on a Computer

As a freelancer, I often find myself sitting at a desk for hours and hours each day. When I started out, the result of this was chronic back problems, strained neck and tensed shoulders. All these were caused by my improper sitting posture, but since then I have made sure to do everything I can to avoid further problems of this kind.

If you work in an office, a coworking space or at home and have to sit in front of a computer for 8-10 hours every day, these 3 easy tips will help you prevent back problems in the future:

1. A Good Chair will Help Avoid Back Problems

When I started out freelancing, I used an ordinary dining chair as an office chair. Of course, this was a big mistake and my back and butt could feel it. So, once I had made enough money from writing, I went out and bought a good office chair. Thankfully, that made sitting in front of a computer much easier.

What should you look for in your desk chair? There are a couple of things that you need to pay attention to, including:

  1. Adjustable height

Don’t buy a chair if you can’t adjust its height. Most office chairs have those levers under the seat that you can pull to increase or decrease its height. Make sure that the chair is neither too high nor too low. Your feet should be firmly touching the floor and your knees should be at a 90 degrees angle. If you go too high or too low, you could suffer problems with your knees.

  1. Comfortable sitting cushion

If you’re going to sit somewhere for several hours, the least you can do is to make your buttocks as comfortable as possible. Let me tell you from experience, dining chairs are not comfortable for your buttocks. Instead, get an office chair that has a nice, cushy seat. Go to the office supply store, try out a few chairs there and pick the one that feels the most comfortable to sit on.

  1. Adjustable backrest

The backrest, as the name suggest, is the part of the chair where your back can lean on. In a lot of office chairs, you can adjust this back and forth, depending on your preference, but most important thing here is to make sure the backrest offers a good lower back support as this is crucial in avoiding back problems.

2. Adjust Your Monitor and Keyboard Height and Position

Adjust your monitor and keyboard height

While a good office chair will help you with your back problems, adjusting your monitor and keyboard height and position is necessary if you want to prevent neck pain and tensed shoulders.

Remember when your mother kept telling you “sit straight and don’t slouch”? She had a very good reason, even if you didn’t realize it at the time and took the first chance to slouch. Your sitting posture is incredibly important, not for outside appearance (although it does for that as well), but for the benefit of your neck, shoulders and back.

So let’s take a quick reminder of the proper sitting position in front of a computer:

  • Hips as far back in the chair as you can go.
  • Feet flat on the ground (if your feet are dangling, it’s not good, if your chair is too low, it’s also not good).
  • Knees parallel to your hips and at a 90 degree angle.
  • Hands comfortably resting on the keyboard. Not too close and not too far. If you have adjustable armrests, I suggest playing with them a little.
  • Monitor in front of you. If you need to, prop it on some books or a box. Most monitors can be lowered or elevated, so be sure to do this until its perfect for you.
  • Don’t hunch or slouch your shoulders. This is especially important if you’re working on a laptop.

I know it looks like a lot to take in. But trust me, a good sitting posture will soon become like a second nature to you and it will be invaluable in preventing back problems , tensed shoulders and neck pains. But there’s also one more thing I want you to do if you use a computer a lot.

3. Get Up and Stretch Your Muscles

I intentionally left what could easily be the most important piece of advice to avoid back problems. Don’t sit in one place for too long. Whether your job requires you to work at computer, or you just using it to watch movies, browse the Internet or play games, you need to get up from it from time to time.

What I do is every 25 minutes take I a 5-minute break to get up and stretch. This is called “the Pomodoro technique” and it’s a great hack to help you increase your productivity. Also, after a long day of work, be sure to go out on some fresh air, go to the gym, or what I always do, take a long walk to stretch your leg muscles and get your mind off work.

Did you find these tips useful? What else do you do to avoid neck, shoulders and back problems? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to share this article on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google +.

Vladimir Covic
covic.v1ad@gmail.com
27 Comments
  • divya
    Posted at 05:53h, 21 June Reply

    nice tips , i often get problem while working and sitting so these now going to help me :)thanks for sharing

  • RM
    Posted at 21:40h, 20 June Reply

    Thanks for sharing these great tips!!!

  • Farhaj Hussain
    Posted at 15:44h, 20 June Reply

    This is so helpful…for all of us… Thanks so much for sharing…

  • Pammy
    Posted at 15:30h, 20 June Reply

    Prevention is better than cure, this is an important thing to get reminded of. Thanks for sharing!

    Pammy – joyfulsource.com

  • finja
    Posted at 12:01h, 20 June Reply

    ahhahah yes, i need a better chair for sure! 🙂
    x finja | http://www.effcaa.com

  • Verge Marie Layno
    Posted at 05:06h, 20 June Reply

    This is really helpful! Thanks for the simple but effective tips.

  • Tanyi Melvis Bechemnyo
    Posted at 01:07h, 20 June Reply

    Yet another great post from a great writer. I’m experiencing this problem. Thanks for the tips, I appreciate you.

  • Mactheexplorer
    Posted at 22:28h, 19 June Reply

    Thanks for sharing this tips! Very useful for freelancer who working long hours in the desk.

  • Tessa
    Posted at 21:33h, 19 June Reply

    This post is so important for me. I recently started working at an office so I’ll have to keep these tips in mind!

  • Stacy
    Posted at 20:39h, 19 June Reply

    Informative post. Few tips that we forget to keep into place but very helpful.

  • Waller Jamison
    Posted at 14:37h, 19 June Reply

    Very useful post. Back pain is a really problem when working on a computer all day. Thanks for the tips.

  • helen
    Posted at 14:32h, 19 June Reply

    Nice post

  • Tonya Wilhelm
    Posted at 14:06h, 19 June Reply

    Great post. I still struggle with back and bottom pain being at the computer. I have these in place, but I think I need to get up more. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Hope
    Posted at 13:45h, 19 June Reply

    This is a great tip, not just for freelancers but for everyone who does office job. It’s equally nice to have an adjustable table so you can sometimes stand while working in the office. This helps to stretch the body because sitting for many hours isn’t healthy.

    http://Www.storieswithoutborder.wordpress.com/

  • Kimberly
    Posted at 12:38h, 19 June Reply

    Many people at my job have been getting adjustable stand up desks. The problem is, you can only get them if you get a note from your doctor!

  • Pulkit
    Posted at 05:31h, 19 June Reply

    This is really helpful as I was suffering from back pain, I will keep these points in mind while working. Thanks.

  • Echoesofhervoice
    Posted at 03:25h, 19 June Reply

    These are nice tips. I struggle with finding the perfect place/posture to sit. But I’ll find it one day. Thanks for sharing!

  • Nena Sterner
    Posted at 20:16h, 18 June Reply

    Wow, I hadn’t even thought about #2! I’ll try anything to get my back to stop hurting

  • Divyanka
    Posted at 19:15h, 18 June Reply

    I really need to work on point 3. I was experiencing back problems since few days, thanks for tips!

  • Blog Bucket
    Posted at 16:41h, 18 June Reply

    such a great reminder and very helpful post..!! these health tips are really very important.

  • FS Page
    Posted at 11:35h, 18 June Reply

    A very very helpful post. I am so fed up of my back aches due to long sitting hours. I recently started yoga and bought a soft pillow to support my spine. Your tips will really help. Thanks for sharing.

  • Veera Junnila
    Posted at 10:35h, 18 June Reply

    Beautifully written text, I loved to read it! Thank you for sharing this!
    Interesting things in your blog 🙂
    https://byveera.blogspot.fi/2017/06/from-porto-to-pinhao-by-boat.html

  • RED RIDING HOOD
    Posted at 09:44h, 18 June Reply

    Magnesium is also helpful 🙂 Šumeće tablete i to,…

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 10:20h, 18 June Reply

      Never tried that before. Hvala.

  • Claire - StartACraftBlog
    Posted at 22:08h, 17 June Reply

    this is a great post for me! I really suffer with back pain and a connective tissue disorder AND bad hips – the whole 9 yards. I bought an office chair recently and I went for beauty over practicality and if you sit on it too long, it makes your butt go numb. So, I think I have a little shopping to do!

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 09:12h, 18 June Reply

      Yeah, I know how that is. I changed three chairs until I found what works for me.

  • Tahnee
    Posted at 17:41h, 17 June Reply

    These are so important as it really can mess you up! Thanks for sharing

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