B. Newman

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Sep 5, 2001
Kodak, Tn. USA
At least I think that's the word...

I hardly know enough to read in this forum, let alone start a topic :rolleyes: .

Anyway, here's my question. When I spend a long time at the computer writing, (or trying desparately to make QuickBooks give me a report listing all my tax free sales by name...) I often time end up with my neck and shoulders hurting badly.

Should I raise my chair, lower my chair, change the keyboard positon, or go back to writing all my stuff in longhand?

Hi Betty

How high is your monitor? It should be at a comfortable height so you don't have to look up or down to see it.

Raising the chair might help somewhat by bringing the keyboard "lower" and reducing the stress.

I found an interesting article about this on a public forum:
Some shoulders, back and neck pain or tightness is caused mainly by bad posture, chair height, keyboard location and the height of your monitor. Poor posture while computing can cause problems in both the back and neck area. Sitting straight is probably the most effective solution to this problem. A lumbar support for the chair and a foot rest also can release the pressure from your lower back. The position of the keyboard is very important. A keyboard that is positioned too high causes pressure in the shoulder and neck area. This can be eliminated by using a keyboard drawer and or by proper chair adjustment. A monitor that is too low forces the user to look down causing tension on the neck and upper back. The solution to this is easy adjust the monitor height to eye level so that your neck is straight and the tension is released. Keep any documents being entered into the computer near the monitor and also at eye level minimizing the back and forth head movement. A document holder is a good way to position your papers in the proper position.
I have carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands, thanks to years of working with computers full time. I had the surgery on the right hand last year, and it really helped. The right hand was keeping me awake most nights with the discomfort. (The left isnt as bad and can wait)

Ergonomic keyboards exist (basically they saw the keyboard in half so the hands dont have to twist inward to type. I don't personally use one and find them a bit awkward to use. Here are what some of them look like:

Thanks Mike, I figured you could help. My monitor/chair ratio means I have to look up and then the keyboard height makes me have to hold my arms up a little. I'll try adjusting everything today to see how it works.

I've got a lot of writing to do and I just keep putting it off dreading the neck pain. It's not too bad when just doing a little, but to spend hours at the computer is murder.

Betty, I have the split key board and it does wonders, in addition to being the right height with chair and monitor. PC Concepts makes the spit key. We bought ours on sale and I thought the company went br and then all of a sudden MS didn't have one and PCC is going strong. Guess who made that knock off. This is my 3rd computer I've used this keyboard on and I should order a back up. It has the wrist rest attached. They are on line. #61573 The only thing I can see better would be if it was wireless and then one could sit in the easy chair.

[ 07-19-2003, 07:12 PM: Message edited by: JPete ]
I use the Microsoft keyboard and it helps keep your wrists at a comfortable angle.

An interesting "twist" on most keyboards, including my MS keyboard, is that when they tilt, they tilt the wrong way. Having the space key higher than the function keys will also help keep your wrists from getting sore, but I have yet to use a keyboard that can do that without outside intervention.

It should be obvious, but we often forget to take frequent breaks.

Too often, the computer IS the break. :(
I'm such a good typist, I had to pop off the Caps Lock key over by the 'A' key. My fingers tend to be bigger than the keys. They ought to make kybds like the phones for the visually impaired: with really BIG keys!

Bet, remind me to email you the story aboout the guy I worked with that slammed the old Dataspeed 40 keyboard so hard, all the keys popped off. It's riotously funny!
Charles, I thought my husband was going to do that one night. He works on computers all day, but it's mostly AS400 stuff and not PC stuff.

Everything he does, he goes at like "fighting fire" anyway, playing piano, or keyboarding.

Anyway, he was sending an e-mail and he was mad to start with, and I swear, the longer he typed, the madder he got, and the madder he got, the harder he hit the keys. It got to the point that it was downright funny to listen to. And I wasn't too sure the keyboard was going to last through it. Oh well, at least that was the "company" computer anyway!


gee, I almost forgot the topic. I raised my chair and worked most of the afternoon at the computer, and it really helped. Thanks guys.

[ 07-19-2003, 09:22 PM: Message edited by: B. Newman ]
I remember reading an article that gave all the statistics for using your computer ergonimically. From what I remember, you should:
Look slightly down to see your screen. It should be at a 45% to 75% degree tilt of your head.
When your fingers are one the keyboad, your arm (wrist to elbow) should be parallel to the floor.
Your feet should be flat on the floor when you are typing.
After staring at the screen for a duration (20 - 30 min.), you should take a break and look at something that is farther away (eg. 10' plus) for approx. 10 sec. (I'm not sure of the exact times or distances anymore).

I try to do most of these :rolleyes: since I don't have an ergonomic keyboard but find that my feet aren't always flat on the floor.

Thanks Carol. I'm close to that. My moniter is a little higher, but my arms are pretty well parallel with the floor. But if my seat is high enough for that to happen, my feet are barely touching the floor. (Short stuff!)

My hands and wrists don't bother me, it's my neck!


Well it was my neck!
"Computers are a pain in the neck" - BN
Originally posted by Mike-L@GTP:
"Computers are a pain in the neck" - BN
Well, that's almost what my husband says about them. He works on them all day, every day, and will barely touch one at home!