Computers – a pain in the neck?

Most jobs demand some computer use, and many consist entirely of being seated in front of a screen.  It is widely recognised that this is bad for posture, and therefore for health, but these working conditions don’t look likely to change.  So we need to learn how to manage the use of our bodies and minds in this static position.

Is this you?

Is this you?

You can see from the above picture that the neck strained forward means the head is way off its supporting structure – the spine.  Did you know that your head weighs 12-15 lbs?  But that is only when it is poised on top of your spine.  However, if you hold your head forward of centre, its weight increases.  You can see from the image below how much strain and stress this puts on your neck, back and shoulder  muscles.

Head Fwd of spine

There are lots of things you can do to prevent this ‘neck poking forward’ habit.

Firstly, while you are at the computer:

1. Sit on, not behind, your sit bones (these are the two sharp bones at the base of your pelvis)

2. When you are seated, let your weight drop down onto your sit bones, and think of your head going up off the top of your spine.  Your spine can stretch out between your pelvis and head

3. Seated or standing: relax your neck muscles, and let your neck come back over your spine

4.  Seated: if you need to move forward to see the screen better, move your whole torso forwards, rolling over your hip joints

5. Seated or standing: let your fingers do the typing while your shoulders and arms hang free

Then, when you take your breaks from the computer (every 20-30 minutes):

1. Do some long slow outbreaths as you walk around

2. Lie down for 5 minutes with your head supported by a book (2-3 inches high) and knees drawn up.  Do some long slow outbreaths (these are great muscle relaxants)

3. Standing: balance your weight gently and slowly backwards and forwards over your feet (think of yourself as an upsidedown pendulum!)

4. Standing: shake your spine out by bouncing on your knees (small and rapid bending and straightening of the legs at the knees).  Eventually this can lead to  jumping just off the ground

5.  Sitting: rest your hands on your thighs, palms up.  Gently flex and stretch your fingers.  Let your arms hang down and rotate your hands towards and away from your body.

Alexander Technique lessons

In 3 lessons I can help you to overcome some of the bad habits you may have developed when using a computer.

An Alexander Technique teacher helps you to help yourself.  I will give you useful tips about what to do – and what not to do – when at the computer; and also show you how thinking differently can really change your habits.

Contact details

Tel:  01579 343160 / 07538 482596