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Best computer monitor practices for neck health

Sitting at a desk all day while working a nine to five is challenging on the body. Today’s high rates of back, neck, and shoulder pain are proof that a sedentary lifestyle comes with a few setbacks. Not only can the spine be thrown out of alignment, but rotator cuffs are also at risk.

Despite high-tech advances in many workplaces, desk workers will need to carefully consider where they put their monitors. Though a minor difference, this can make a huge difference when it comes to neck health.

Many spend time looking for monitors (and similar products) that were designed with posture in mind—and the research is worth it. One upside in researching monitors isn’t just ergonomic design, but also enhanced visual capabilities. Modern monitors are able to provide cleaner colors, quicker response times, and greater resolutions and contrast ratios.

This comes in handy for those who plan on using their monitors for entertainment purposes. Video gamers who compete in eSports tournaments know that visuals can make a difference between winning and losing—but even casual gamers are aware of the benefits.

For example, online video slots are some of the most popular ways to game, with companies including favorite titles from around the world on their lists of offerings. But only a quality monitor will highlight the time and effort spent by visual artists and graphic designers in crafting imaginative settings to enjoy.

This is important for non-gamers, too. Better graphics equals less pressure on the eyes, which are already compromised by the quantity of blue light in screen displays. But aside from design and graphic features, what else should office workers be on the lookout for when choosing a new monitor and setting it up at their desk? Here are three helpful hints.

Back To Basics

Not everyone will need to go out and find a new monitor that suits their needs. Many will find that rearranging their desk or office space will be all they need to improve their neck and shoulder health.

Here are a few of the most basic rules: keep the monitor directly centered in front of you to minimize neck movements, make sure the monitor is raised to a comfortable height, and sit an appropriate distance from the monitor.

Most workers will notice an immediate difference just by shifting the placement of the monitor. Others will need to go a bit deeper to solve their neck issues. This might even require a trip to the eye doctor, as those whose vision is lagging are more likely to lean toward the screen.

Thirty minutes later, they’re curled over in their seat like a question mark, trying to read last week’s expense report. Those looking to prioritize their posture while working on a monitor can purchase a stool; the chair’s lack of back support encourages better back posture.

Back to basic
Back to basic

Single vs. Dual Monitors

For some, a single monitor just won’t get the job done. Many digital professionals today rely on ‘dual monitors’, which are two screens sat side by side, to easily shift between documents. Unfortunately for dual monitor enthusiasts, having two screens is one of the least ergonomic designs for workspaces.

Those who don’t have any choice but to include second monitor in their workspace can at least optimize their desk. How they’re arranged will depend on whether the monitors are used equally, what type of work is done, and which eye someone relies on more.

Those who spend equal time on each monitor should keep them centered and touching to minimize the degree, and extent, of neck movements. Those who use a second monitor less often can determine which of their eyes is dominant with a simple test, and then place their secondary monitor on that side.

One final solution for dual monitor workers is to use a swivel chair. Rather than twisting the neck to look at a secondary monitor this enables you to move the chair instead, ensuring you remain facing forward. The same goes for keyboards—be sure to move a keyboard and mouse in front of the monitor being used.

About The Authors

Karan Emery

Karan Emery - I'm a research scientist interested in learning more about how neural activity influences and shapes human behavior. Project design and management, data analysis and interpretation, and the creation and implementation of testing tools are among my specialties. I enjoy coming up with new ideas and coming up with practical solutions to issues that are widely applicable. My colleagues would describe me as a driven, resourceful individual who maintains a positive, proactive attitude when faced with adversity. Currently, I’m seeking opportunities that will allow me to develop and promote technologies that benefit human health. Specific fields of interest include data analytics, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals.

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