How to Correctly Position Your Computer

Position your computer and your body correctly and you can avoid pain causing muscle strain.
Published: Dec 5, 2005
Author: Michael E, Callahan

This question submitted by Emily Smythe, Randy Bart, Ann Remen, Sherry Metcalf, Dan Thompson and numerous others

As someone who spends many hours each day at a computer I know how important it is to have your space set up correctly. If you don't you can end up with sore shoulders, a sore neck, tension headaches and more. I've found from talking to people that many don't give much thought to how their computer should be positioned. Or how the monitor should be in relation to the computer and your eyes. So, here are some helpful tips for you to remember. Put them into practice and you'll enjoy using your computer a lot more.

One thing you want to do is make sure that your computer and monitor are sitting so that you face them straight on. Don't have the monitor at an angle, off to one side as this causes you to strain while you work. You shouldn't have to twist your body in order to face your monitor and work.

When it comes to your monitor you want to have it so the top of the monitor is either at or just below eye level. If you have to look up at your monitor it's going to give you an ache in your neck. Trust me on this one ... I learned this tip the hard way. So, when you're looking at your monitor make sure you don't have to tilt your head up even a little. It relaxes the muscles of the neck if you're looking slightly downward.

There are a number of ways to adjust the height of your monitor. In the "old days," when computers laid horizontally, we used set the monitor right on top of the computer. I suppose you could still do that if you laid your tower on its side, but there are better options. If you look at stores like Office Depot or OfficeMax you can find accessories meant just for this purpose. I have one right now called the Spin Station that has compartments that can hold things like paper clips, pens and so on. The compartments spin inside the main frame which is what my monitor sits on. Pretty slick. Some of the newer monitors actually sit on a post that lets you adjust them up and down easily.

When you look at your monitor you shouldn't see glare. This is more of a problem if the room you're in has windows. Glare can be very hard on your eyes and result in things like "dry eye." To reduce glare you can try positioning your monitor so it's at a 90 degree angle in relation to the source of the glare, like a window. With your monitor at right angle to the windows you shouldn't have glare. You can also buy anti-glare screens that will attach to your monitor and these work very well. Another way to eliminate some types of glare is to tilt your monitor screen. And how far should your monitor be away from you? For most people it should be at arm's length.

Most monitors today emit much less radiation than monitors did in the past, but looking at one all day can still tire your eyes. For those of you who wear glasses, ask your doctor or optician about a UV coating on your lenses. This is a clear coating that effectively blocks ultraviolet radiation and it can make an amazing difference when you work at a computer.

Nearly everyone has heard about Carpel Tunnel Syndrome in association with computer keyboards. This syndrome is caused by the tightening of connective tissue around the medial nerve in the wrist. This compression of the nerve causes numbness and tingling in the fingers and hand. In relation to computers Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is usually caused by poor positioning of the arms and hands while typing. The main thing to remember is to keep your hands, wrists, and arms straight when you type. For this reason you want the keyboard to be at about the level of your elbows. To attain this level you might want to consider getting a keyboard tray that you can attach to your desk. These can also be found atffice supply stores. What about foam and gel wrist pads? If you don't position your arms correctly these things will only help a little bit. The best way to avoid ending up with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is to make sure you're positioned in the right way.

With your computer set up the right way, you can work at it for many hours without aches, pains, dry eye and other problems. You can also try things like ergonomically designed chairs with lumbar support to help make your day more comfortable.

I'd like to thank Emily Smythe, Randy Bart, Ann Remen, Sherry Metcalf, Dan Thompson and numerous others for asking this question.

If you have a question on how to do something on the computer you can submit it via e-mail by clicking HERE. You will not receive a reply, but all topics will be considered.

About Michael E, Callahan

Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.

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