The human back is a complex and important component of our anatomy. Besides serving as the major structural framework for the body and providing us with the ability to walk, it is also an integral point of attachment for ligaments and muscles, and a conduit for nerve impulses. The “backbone” is actually composed of interlocking rings of bone called vertebrae that give the back both its strength and flexibility. The vertebrae are organized into 4 major groups that affect different parts of the body. The vertebrae serve as points of attachment for muscles and tendons, and the hollow center is filled with the spinal cord. The vertebrae are separated by small rings of spongy material called discs that provide cushioning between each flexible vertebrae. Severe impact injuries can crush the discs between vertebrae, thereby pinching nerves that run to and from the spinal cord, and also affect the ability of adjacent vertebrae to pivot when bending or twisting. Most back problems associated with computer workstations are identical to those caused by any activity requiring extended sitting – soreness or stiffness, often in the lower regions of the back.
Avoid back problems by adopting the following work recommendations:
- Place monitor in direct straight line with keyboard and chair to avoid continually twisting and bending,
- Good sitting posture will virtually eliminate the possibility of back problems. Achieve good posture by sitting erect in your chair, planting your feet firmly on the floor (or a foot stool if the chair cannot be lowered for any reason), and keeping your lower back firmly supported by the lumbar support of your chair,
- Whenever working at the computer for long periods, take breaks to change the focus of the eyes,
- Take periodic breaks – and get up from your chair – to change your position and perform stretching exercises.