Computers and Neck Problems

Most people use computers every day, but it turns out the posture we take while doing so is causing neck issues. San Francisco State University researchers asked 87 students to sit upright with their heads properly aligned on their necks and asked them to turn their heads. Then they had the students “scrunch” their necks and jut their heads forward. Ninety-two percent reported being able to turn their heads much farther when not scrunching up their neck. Also, in a second test, 98 percent reported some level of pain in their head, neck, or eyes after scrunching their necks for 30 seconds. Often, when staring at a computer screen, people jut their head forward to look more closely at the screen. Study leader Erik Peper explains, “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. 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.”