Posture in the Workplace & Monitor Position

Have you ever considered the strain that your head and neck may be under from something as simple as your screen height? With your head weighing a good few kilos it's no wonder that your neck may start to ache or that pesky headache returns after a long day at work. 

Studies are now showing that when your head is tilted downward by 15°, this increases the forces on the neck muscles by 12kgs also accompanied by the internal rotation of the shoulders. More significantly if your head is tilted down and forward by 60°, this will increase the forces on the neck muscles by 27kgs and cause even greater internal rotation of the shoulders.

The next step is to address is the height positioning of the monitor.

There is an easy way of finding out the correct height for the monitor. Place and balance either your mobile phone or a book on top of your head. Then, looking straight ahead, point to an imaginary spot in front of the eye line. This is where the center of the monitor screen should be placed. In fact, it is better to have the center of the screen slightly higher - NOT lower - because the neck curvature will start to flatten out.

Once the neck curvature starts to flatten out, this will over time lead to increased pressures and stress to the neck muscles, the joints of the spinal bones in the neck, the discs of the neck, kinks in vertebral artery and inevitably the nerves in the neck. Over time this could lead to referred pain down the arm('s) if the nerves become to compromised. 

What happens if you are using a Laptop and NOT a Computer Monitor?

The principles of where to place your laptop in front of your eyes are fundamentally the same as with your computer monitor.

Once sitting correctly at the workstation, the center of the laptop screen should be at eye level or even slightly higher. To negate the keyboard of the laptop, there are bluetooth/WiFi keyboards that sit on top of the workstation and can be synced with the laptop.

However, when the laptop is used on the workstation, the angle at which the head is tilted downwards is roughly 60° which as mentioned in a previous post, 60° head tilt will generate 27kgs of force in the neck, upper back and shoulder muscles.

The other significant postural change is the internal rotation forward and down of both shoulders. The pain and muscle tightness when working the laptop as mentioned can cause a various range of symptoms ranging from headaches, referred pain down the back and arms, lifting the head up or the turning of the head and neck while there may be some eye acuity changes too.

Finally, if you are working dual side by side screens at the workstation and the laptop is one of them, again the principles again are the same with the center of both screens being at least at eye level or slightly higher height with the bluetooth/WiFi keyboard on the workstation.

Failing to address the monitor height is a natural progression for the person's posture to start to deteriorate. For examples head dropping down, craning of the chin, the rounding of the shoulders, and slouching in the chair.

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