Why Monitor Mounts are Healthier
As many of us are experiencing firsthand, neck and back pain are aggravated by sitting at a desk or using a computer in today’s busy, high tech world. Most of us use at least two monitors or more in addition to multi display monitor mounts.
One of the important benefits of using multiple monitors with your computer is increased productivity and efficiency. That starts with a high quality multi display computer system and an ergonomic monitor mount. Here is some important information about mount ergonomics that will help you prevent neck and back pain while sitting at your desk.
Choosing the Right Mount
There are many multiple monitor mounts and stands to choose from, but it is important to choose the right mount for YOU. Whether you use a basic dual display stand or 12 monitors mounted 3 rows high, the ergonomic aspect is the same. So start by choosing a high quality ergonomic mount based on the number of displays you need.
Whenever possible, position yourself so that you are looking straight ahead and so your body is in a fairly straight line with your work. Twisting your neck just a few degrees may not seem harmful, but day after day, week after week, the negative effects can be cumulative and dramatic, resulting in an unnatural torque in your spinal column leading to painful kinks and knots in your muscles.
Avoid Leaning or Reaching
If you are having to lean in, left, or right to see your screens you need to make a change. Either your chair is at the wrong height, you are sitting too close to your screens (which may mean you need to check your glasses), or you do not have a swivel chair.
Proper Viewing Angle
When using a computer, try to place the monitor directly in front of you. A good rule of thumb is to keep your eyes level with the center of your highest monitor screen. For example if you have a mount that is two rows high, this would be the top row, center monitor. This all starts with the right chair height (see below).
To avoid neck strain from looking left and right all day, make sure you have a chair that swivels. For example if you use 3 monitors in front of you, and you are looking at the right screen. You should not just turn your head (neck strain) but also swivel slightly your chair slightly so you are more squarely positioned in front of the monitor you are viewing.
Looking too far up or down for extended periods can cause problems ranging from muscular tension and spasm to headaches, neck and shoulder pain. This is where height and a proper chair come in.
When deciding on a monitor mount, consider how many monitors you have and the width of each. For example if you plan to have 3 x 24″ monitors wide, make sure you have enough space. That would be exactly the horizontal width of those 3 monitors, roughly 67″ in this example. This is important to consider because the wider your monitors, the further you will need to rotate left and right in your chair. Another reason you need a proper chair, read on.
How to choose the right monitor for mounting on a stand.
A Proper Chair
It is essential that you have a good chair that supports your spine and allows proper blood and nerve flow to the lower extremities. An uncomfortable chair that does not fit your body properly can cause problems from the neck and arms all the way down to the lower back and legs. Since we were all created with different shapes and sizes, it is necessary to try out many different chairs to find the one that is right for you.
Expensive, high back executive chairs are not ideal for doing deskwork for extended periods, although the neck support is helpful for leaning back on short breaks. As with everything else in an office setting, the more adjustable a chair is, the better chance you have of custom fitting it to your body. Of course, proper posture is a necessity for anyone who sits for extended periods. Try to keep your feet flat on the floor and avoid slouching.
Many chairs come with built in lumbar support, but frequently the added foam is still is not enough to fill in the space between your back and the chair. An adjustable backrest can give your back even more support by placing the backrest exactly where you need it. You can also experiment with using lumbar pillows and cushions to support the lower back and make you more aware of your posture.
Look for a chair with a seat that supports approximately two-thirds of your thighs and slopes downward, allowing your hips to be higher than your knees. This position prevents the blood circulation from being cut off to your lower legs and feet. Make sure that the seat has adequate padding to help prevent loss of blood and nerve flow.
One of the worst things that you can do to your neck is to hold the telephone on your upraised shoulder while you use the computer, type, or write. This repetitive type strain on the muscles and nerves of the cervical region can have serious consequences. Phone accessories that raise the telephone to your ear help, but the muscles are still tensed and the neck is bent at an unnatural angle.
Speakerphones are a much less dangerous option. Bluetooth (wireless) headsets are ideal for someone who uses the phone regularly, and can literally save you a great deal of headache. The same holds true for mobile phones. If you frequently use a cell phone, a headset or speakerphone is not only safer to use while driving, but may reduce possible harmful radiation.
Get Up and Move Around
Keeping these tips in mind can make your office job or computer usage more productive and less harmful on a daily basis. Perhaps one of the smartest habits that you can develop is simply listening to your body and knowing when to get up and move around or move on to a different task.
Remember that your body was not designed to sit for exceptionally long periods and works most efficiently when the joints are taken through their normal ranges of motion. Make a concentrated effort to stretch your body, (especially your neck, shoulders, and lower back) on a regular basis if you sit for hours during the day. Just like a high quality computer system, your hard working body will last a lot longer if you take the time to care of it.