Computers & Posture


Attention Computer Users!


You must have your monitor (screen) at eye level, and your keyboard at elbow level.


So many people I work on have head-forward posture from things like using laptop computers. They eventually hold their heads forward on their bodies, at an angle all the time and not just when on the computer.

Head Forward Posture

This means the muscles on the front of their neck and chest are shortened all the time. Which means instead of their skeletal system holding the weight of their head, they use the muscles of the upper back and neck (all of the time) to support the weight of their head.


Just visualize for a moment, if I asked you to sit at a table, put your elbow on the table, and hold your forearm perfectly vertical.

If I then gave you a bowling ball to hold in your hand, you could possibly hold it quite a while, as long as you held your forearm perfectly straight up (your arm bone supports all the weight).

Now imagine if I asked you to hold your arm out at 30 degrees, and hold the bowling ball. You would likely set it down very quickly as your biceps tried to hold the weight of the ball.

If you hold your head out in front of your body, you are asking your posterior back & neck muscles to hold the weight of your "bowling ball" (head), instead of your bones (spine) supporting the weight.

When these muscles are asked to do the job of bones, they become more like bones: poor blood supply, stiff, and hard. They then develop trigger points which refer pain to the head and neck, often propagating through the arms, hands, and fingers. In fact, headaches are often caused by trigger points in the neck.



I had a patient a couple years ago whose initial assessment was "all twisted up". I worked on him for a couple months, getting him straightened out, only to have him return twisted up again the following week.

I am embarrassed to say it was after many treatments that I finally asked what he did for a living. He replied he worked at a computer every day at work. I asked him to tell me about his workstation.

With a little coaxing, he revealed that his monitor was not only not at eye level, but was over to his right side. He then added that his tower was to his left, and the mouse cord was too short to reach the right side of his keyboard, so he would use his right hand to mouse on the left side of his body...

Turning his head right, while mousing right-handed in front of his left shoulder.


I explained that he had to change his workstation, to which he insisted he couldn't. I went on to encourage him to at least entertain the idea, and I suggested spending 10 bucks on a "mouse/USB extension cord" would be a lot cheaper than what he was paying me out-of-pocket each week for treatments.


Well, he arrived back the next week saying he had been able to get the monitor in front of himself at eye level, and he had bought the extension, and was now mousing on his right side.

I only saw him that once and he never felt the need to return for treatment again.

We had corrected his postural distortions, which made him pain-free, and he was no longer sabotaging his own health.



-Merrill
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