Washington: Sitting on a computer is something that has become second nature to most of us. However, this seemingly harmless position compresses the neck and can lead to fatigue” headaches, poor concentration, muscle tension and even injury to the vertebrae over time, a new study finds.
In time, prolonged sitting in this posture can even limit the ability to turn one’s head.
The study was published in the journal Biofeedback.
Speaking about why it affects the body in a detrimental manner, San Francisco State University Professor of Holistic Health Erik Peper said, “When your posture is tall and erect, the muscles of your back can easily support the weight of your head and neck — as much as 12 pounds.”
He went on to add, “But when your head juts forward at a 45 degree angle, your neck acts like a fulcrum, like a long lever lifting a heavy object. Now the muscle weight of your head and neck is the equivalent of about 45 pounds. It is not surprising people get stiff necks and shoulder and back pain.”
Peper, Associate Professor of Health Education Richard Harvey and their colleagues and two research scholars tested the effects of head and neck.
First they were asked to ‘scrunch’ their necks and jut their heads forward.
The researchers found ninety-two per cent of those being tested reported being able to turn their heads much farther when not scrunching. In the second test, 125 students scrunched their necks for 30 seconds. Afterwards, ninety-eight per cent reported some level of pain in their head, neck or eyes.
According to the researchers, if one is suffering from headaches or neck and backaches from computer work, one has to check their posture and make sure that their head is aligned on top of the neck.
Other solutions he offers include increasing the font on your computer screen, wearing computer reading glasses or placing your computer on a stand at eye level, all to make the screen easier to read without strain.