Is Tech Wrecking Your Neck: Ergonomics

tech neck 5Maintaining good posture while sitting in front of screens is crucial for our health. The first step to finding good posture is to set up an ergonomic workstation. Click here for a Mayo Clinic article that shows you how to do so.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to fully take care of your body while using a laptop. Either your screen is at eye level and your shoulders are lifted and hunched to get your hands up to the keyboard, or your arms are neutrally oriented but your head is tilted forward looking down at the screen. An ergonomically supportive environment can help minimize strain. I currently am in the process of setting up my home office with a sit/stand workstation where I will be able to vary my movement as I work, and am also installing an external monitor that allows me to keep my gaze at eye level while I use my laptop keyboard to type.

When using your phone or tablet, the device ideally would be held with the screen at eye level, with elbows slightly bent and resting on some sort of support. Of course you also want to have a neutral spine.

The positioning of screens at eye level also applies to your television. Televisions mounted above the fireplace force you to tilt your head up, as though you were sitting in the front row of a theater. This minimizes your neck stabilizers, which already tend to be compromised, and places excessive stress and on your mid-cervical spine. It is optimal to place your television where you can view it straight ahead.

Everything you do to set yourself up ergonomically with your devices is a wonderful opportunity to take your yoga practice off your mat and integrate it into your life. It is a true act of ahimsa (“cause no injury”), a cornerstone of the practice of yoga. You’ll also be practicing mindfulness and svadhyaya (self study) as you adapt to the changes.

 

Part I: Ergonomics

Part II: Posture

Part III: Salabhasana Variations

Part IV: Self-Massage with Yoga Tune Up Balls

Part V: Therapeutic Corrective Exercises

Part VI: Take Breaks

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