A monitor stand (or “monitor riser”) could be the cure for your stiff neck.
An incorrectly positioned monitor is only one possible cause, but a stiff or painful neck is a common complaint among computer workers. Are you one of them?
Read on to find out more.
There is a trend among computer workers: When it comes to ergonomics, most people are happy with the idea of adjusting their chair, but may forget that they also need to adjust their monitor.
Time and time again, I see colleagues who are looking down on their screen, instead of viewing it straight on. This places neck muscles under continual tension and those muscles can end up feeling sore, by the end of the day.
In my experience, employers often have a poor understanding of the issue. Bosses are generally content with getting new employees to fill out a workstation assessment form, but it is usually a tick list exercise, with no real training involved. Consequently, very little is done until the employee is experiencing significant discomfort.
I had exactly this problem when I started work at my current company. I adjusted my chair so I could type comfortably, but because I am tall, the screen was well below my eye line. I put some paper underneath the monitor to raise it up a little, but within a short space of time, my neck and shoulders were aching.
Thankfully, I got a monitor stand ordered and a few days later, it arrived. Within minutes of setting it up, I could feel the difference. A few days later and my neck was back to normal.
But why does a low monitor have such an impact?
The problem with having your monitor too low, is that it’s not just your neck that’s affected. Looking down at your screen puts tension on the back of your neck, but when one set of muscles are tense, then nearby muscles tend to tighten up too.
Looking too far down at your monitor means that:
When you get up from your desk and find your upper body aching, you need to take action, but first you’ll want to find out if your monitor height is the culprit.
Here’s how to decide if you need a monitor stand.
“If you are looking over the top of the screen and you’ve already raised it as high as it will go, then you need a monitor stand”
When I look at other people’s work environments, an incorrectly placed monitor is the second most common issue I see (badly adjusted chairs are the first).
If you have a stiff neck and particularly if you’re tall, looking down on your monitor may be the cause and adding a monitor stand could make all the difference.
Question: What difference would a monitor stand make to your neck and shoulders?
I'm Tim Bader, founder of ErgonomicToolbox.com and the Ergonomic Toolbox training course. I am a writer, author, blogger and church leader, and I help people to overcome RSI and live comfortably with technology. When I'm not writing, helping or training people, I live at home with my wife, two teenage kids and Playstation.
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