The Perils of Computer Use Part 1 – The Perils of Desktop Computers

By Stuart Walker, Registered Osteopath

Here at Teddington Osteopaths we are seeing an increasing number of problems related to computer use. It’s an inescapable fact that computers play a huge role in our modern lives, both at work and at home. With this in mind, we will be running a series of blogs designed to help you avoid some of the common pitfalls that may lead to problems. This week – The Perils of Desktop Computers.


1 The Set-Up

This diagram gives some simple guidelines on desk set-up.  There is a wealth of information available online, a good example can be found here: http://www.wikihow.com/Set-Up-an-Ergonomically-Correct-Workstation.

If you work for a company, they have a duty to ensure that your computer and desk set-up is suitable – if your company has an in-house expert then get them to assess your desk set-up and give advice. Let us know if you need further guidance.


2 Vary Your Work Position

Can you raise your desk so you can work standing up? Can you vary the type of chair you sit on, for example swapping your chair for an exercise ball every other hour?


3 Take Breaks

Easy to say – hard to do! Many of us get very engrossed in our work or have deadlines to meet and so we skip breaks. The human body is designed to move and the health of our muscles and joints depends on them being moved through their ranges of motion regularly. Here at Teddington Osteopaths we encourage patients to take “micro-breaks.” These are brief breaks, say 30 seconds to a minute, to stretch and move about every 10-15 minutes. Set a reminder on your phone or your computer. Do it with your colleagues.  Let us know if you need any advice on which stretches to do.


4 Limit Screen Time

If you spend all day at work in front of a screen then try to reduce time spent in front of one at home. Perhaps set time limits – e.g. one hour per night or three 20 minute sessions. Think about whether you actually need to check your facebook/twitter/email account as regularly? Remember computers are there to make our lives easier – not take them over!


5 Take Regular Exercise

Standard advice really and you’ll no doubt have had the benefits of exercise drummed into you by now! Research has shown that 30 minutes of exercise 5 times per week can significantly improve various measures of health from blood pressure and stress hormone levels to blood sugar levels. It also acts as a counter balance to periods of inactivity spent at the screen.

If you need any further advice please call/email/tweet us and we’ll be happy to help.   Part 2 to follow – The dreaded laptop!