Using the computer? Don’t stick your neck out

Created date

February 14th, 2019
An Asian woman leans over a laptop with a notebook and pen in her hands.

How do you feel after using the computer for a long time? Do you have neck or shoulder pain? Check your posture!

Your posture is something you may think about as you are walking or sitting down to eat. But time can really fly while you are surfing the Internet and you may not notice a certain posture problem until the damage is already done. A new study published in the journal Biofeedback confirms this.

How it happens

This posture problem involves scrunching your neck and jutting your chin forward, especially when you are trying to see the screen better. This position may not seem especially harmful, but it causes your neck structures to compress and puts extra pressure on your shoulders and back, which leads to fatigue, headaches, inflexibility, muscle tension, and over time, possible injury to one or more of your vertebrae.

In the study, researchers asked a group of subjects to have proper posture while using the computer and another group to replicate the poor posture position. They found that in as little as 30 seconds, 98% of the poor posture group reported some level of pain in their neck, head, or eyes.

To reduce strain, experts say you should keep your head aligned on top of your neck, as if held by an invisible thread attached to the ceiling. You can also try increasing the font on your screen, wearing computer reading glasses, or positioning your computer at eye level.