Developing burning an painful feeling at the back and base of the neck.

Explorer ,
Oct 31, 2013 Oct 31, 2013

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Would this be a fair and relevant topic for the Video lounge?

I thought so because I'm sure many of you spent more time than I do in front of your screen/s doing work or trying to fix things. I wonder how many of you have this problem.

I'm about 50cm from my two 19" screens, my chair is set at its lowest my eyes are level with the top 1/4 of the screen when  I sit straight (This is not the best but the screens are touching the top of my desk unit so can't go any higher

A mate of mine told me to put 4 bricks, one on each corner of my desk! 

I will have to do more than talking about it, but sometimes sharing situations brings positive results from others' experience.

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Guide ,
Nov 01, 2013 Nov 01, 2013

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Having worked with computers for (ohmygosh!) forty-plus years now, I have had multiple physical therapists repeatedly tell me that one's eye-level should be at, or better slightly below, the mid-line of the screen. This keeps the head level, or canted slightyl upwards. Either of which are a better spinal position for the neck than looking downwards -- which can lead to nerve compression and other issues.

Failing any other solution -- or even just for the interim, the four-brick suspension system is one solution. And in fact, it doesn't have to be anything as unsightly as bricks. Check the local furniture and bedding stores. Most will have bed-raisers like the ones pictured below.

Good luck, and take care of that neck!

--OB

BedRisers_l.jpg

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LEGEND ,
Nov 01, 2013 Nov 01, 2013

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I have had multiple physical therapists repeatedly tell me that one's eye-level should be at, or better slightly below, the mid-line of the screen.

That's crazy.  Viewing is much more comfortable with the top of the screen at or below eye level.  That's the primary reason all theaters these days are stadium, to keep you looking straight or slightly down, instead of up at the screen.  It's also why many computer desks have a cutout where the screen goes so you can lower it.

Looking up is a strain over long periods.  Just try working a studio camera for 8 hours.  Ugh!!!

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Explorer ,
Nov 01, 2013 Nov 01, 2013

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Wow! I quite liked the first reply and demolished the top of my pc desk, propped up the two screen 14 cm, and was rejoicing at the success, but wondering how I'm going fix the appearance of my desk with sides but no top shelves anymore.

Then I came back to the forum and saw the other answers! So not everyone agrees with the slightly looking up at the monitor for best result?

My neighbour, an engineer and a person who reads a lot of technical reviews (into photography) also told me the latest thinking on this subject from what he read was "to have to look slightly up".

Well I'll give this a trial, but will also add the 800mm from the screens if I can.

This will be another challenge as I think my reading glasses will then have the wrong adjustment!

...Last year I was advised to get long distance glasses for driving in addition to my new reading glasses. (one of these deals 2 pairs for the price of one) and reallly did not use them much, certainly far away writing was a lot clearer with them but most of the time I felt they were more of a nuisance. Well I just tried them and they do improve my  screen reading past 800mm!

This is turning out to be a comedy of errors...Now my arms are too short to reach the k board )))

I'm going back to work!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 02, 2013 Nov 02, 2013

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One size does not fit all.

This will be another challenge as I think my reading glasses will then have the wrong adjustment!

As my eyes, glasses, contacts, and strategies have changed over the years, my monitor location has (needed to be) changed. Not that it actually was changed! This includes distance from the screen which affects neck etc stress and it all affects eye strain.

If it hurts, change it. I like Biggles list. It is not a single rule, but knowing what you need and listening to your body.

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People's Champ ,
Nov 02, 2013 Nov 02, 2013

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I tried to talk my wife into letting me buy a stand-up editing desk that adjusts downwards if I want to sit for a while.

It didn't fit in with the rest of the room, so I lost that particular battle. She is on her feet a lot at work and doesn't get why I would want to stand up while working on the computer.

I haven't given up just yet. I will just wait a while and try again with a slightly different approach.

artofzootography.com

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Engaged ,
Nov 03, 2013 Nov 03, 2013

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I have varifocal glasses that have a focus point precisely at the viewing distance that I want to be from my monitops/laptop.

They cost a little more but are well worth it

It is the first time I have had these custom glasses but have had varifocals for many years, its only a subtle change but makes a big difference

On what your neighbour has said is the latest thinking, put ergonomists in a room and they will all think differently.  By profession I have a Design Enginnering Degree and ergonomics was part of the process, most systems that is workstations you see are designed to suite a particular percentile of the target users, what that means is that a standard workstation will only be comfortable for about 1 in 10.  You have to customise your workspace to suit you.  To give an example for me lowering the keyboard until my forearm is just below horizontal and using a gel wrist support allows me to spend far longer typing than I can do when I am working on the laptop on the dining room table.  Your first port of call should be the chair, spend time getting that right, if you are using a dining room type chair go out and buy a proper workstation chair, but take your time in choosing.

Col

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Explorer ,
Nov 04, 2013 Nov 04, 2013

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I think we call them "multi focal" Down Under unless it's again something else. Do you have to use only one part of the total lense or use the whole surface? Unlike bi focal where I think you look up for far away and down to read like top half or bottom half. - If you use the whole surface this must be very good, sounds like a camera autofocus! I have not heard of this before. As you say if you are using it a lot it's definetely worth it despite the added cost.

I believe you're right in saying one must work out what's best for oneself as it is true in many area the indivisual end result is what matters. We see top sport men defiying all the rule of handling their particular dicipline and yet who excell in it.

Well I've got my screens up with the center slightly above my eyes level. standing a little too far for my vision and my chair is I believe a very good one I bought for my wife (Craftlady, not crafty lady!) But she preferred some other chairs! So I give this  a try. I don't really feel to comfy this way but we'll see, it's only early days.

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Guide ,
Nov 04, 2013 Nov 04, 2013

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Jim Simon wrote:

I have had multiple physical therapists repeatedly tell me that one's eye-level should be at, or better slightly below, the mid-line of the screen.

That's crazy.  Viewing is much more comfortable with the top of the screen at or below eye level.  That's the primary reason all theaters these days are stadium, to keep you looking straight or slightly down, instead of up at the screen.  It's also why many computer desks have a cutout where the screen goes so you can lower it.

Looking up is a strain over long periods.  Just try working a studio camera for 8 hours.  Ugh!!!

If those are the same sort of studio cameras I am familiar with, that is a much more severe upward angle than we are talking about here. Again, the viewing angle should be neutral, or canted up only very slightly!

For many years I had heard the same advice you have; look downward slightly. It is only in the last few years I have heard that change. And, yes, there is still a lot of debate on the subject.

I can tell you this, however; since I took that therapist's advice and raised my screens slightly (only about 1 to 2 inches -- 2.5 to 5 cm), I no longer get the same sort of burning and pain that Michelmnr describes.

I think Stan Jones said it best; One size does not fit all... If it hurts, change it.

I would add; If it ain't broke (for you), don't fix it.

--OB

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Explorer ,
Nov 05, 2013 Nov 05, 2013

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Well for me it definitely was "broke" and needed fixing - At least, now,  with my screens faily up if I'm not happy with this I can raise my chair, but before I could not go any lower!

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Guide ,
Nov 05, 2013 Nov 05, 2013

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I was talking with my therapist yesterday. She brought up another point:

If your chair is too low, reaching up to type on the keyboard/ use the mouse/ use the tablet can create muscle-tension and stress across your shoulders and upper back that can lead to the same sort of neck pain. Though often in that case (but not always), the upper back and/ or shoulders will be involved too.

Something else to think about.

I hope you find a solution that works for you.

--OB

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Explorer ,
Nov 07, 2013 Nov 07, 2013

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Wow, I might become a contortionist!

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People's Champ ,
Nov 08, 2013 Nov 08, 2013

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This has been an interesting thread. I am going to buy two new monitors to go on my new desk and Dell provides a monitor stand that holds them both. But at what height?

I will be buying a new chair. A good one. Maybe a great one. Looking at the Herman Miller Aeron chair. I probably need to get two so that my wife doesn't get jealous.

I know that the desk is higher than I am used to in order to accomodate a desk with low clearance that my wife wanted on her end of the room. (Have to keep the desktops all at the same level.)

So, this has given me things to think about.

artofzootography.com

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Guide ,
Nov 08, 2013 Nov 08, 2013

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IMHO; If your current viewing angle isn't giving you any problems, there is no need to change it. I only ever began investigating the topic when I developed the same sort of compalint that Michelmnr described.

--OB

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Engaged ,
Nov 08, 2013 Nov 08, 2013

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In post 8 I advised on getting the correct chair sorted for yourself as the first port of call.

Have a look at http://www.backinaction.co.uk/kneeling

For some novel solutions.

I had one for many years, never did know what the late Wife did with it but it dissapeared during one of her drug induced clearance rampages (illness not substance aduse I hasten to add).

Col

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 08, 2013 Nov 08, 2013

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That looks like it would be hard on the knees.

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People's Champ ,
Nov 08, 2013 Nov 08, 2013

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They are, a bit. I used to have one. They are fine if you have the discipline to stay upright and not lean against your desk.

artofzootography.com

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People's Champ ,
Nov 01, 2013 Nov 01, 2013

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The problem is that there are conflicting opinions that indicate you should do what feels right for you. I have my eyes at about the top of the monitors.

http://www.healthycomputing.com/office/setup/monitor/

My problem is that I keep moving closer to the monitors without thinking about it, which puts my neck in a bad position.

artofzootography.com

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Engaged ,
Nov 01, 2013 Nov 01, 2013

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500mm, if you get any closer you will be making out with your monitors, you are working way too close.

Re-configure your workstation until you are at least 800mm > 1m away.

Another thing people who work at a PC/Mac workstation do that is extreemely bad for them is that they spend hours in the same position.

Work no more than 30 minutes, then stand up and stretch, shoulder rotations, neck flexes, head rolls, arm stretches, walking on the spot, it will only take 30 seconds then back to work if you must, but longer is better.

When working take off your shoes/trainers and keep flexing toes and ankle joints (for those with a foot odour problem do spray your feet prior soyou consider the guys in the near workstations)

No job is worth killing or injuring yourself for, living is a one chance deal.

Col

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Explorer ,
Feb 05, 2014 Feb 05, 2014

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Bulging Disc/Pinched Nerve at L5/S1:

I have 2 Herman Miller Aeron chair's and although they impress people that know their price, they are no more special than any other chair. I've never tried a Kneeling Chair but they look & sound promising, as I often get out of my chair and kneel on my knees before my desk, alternating each leg up after a bit. Also, I sometimes use one of the BIG Excercise Balls as a chair. My physical therapist says this makes you utilize your core muscles throughout your back to keep you stabile and upright. My eyes are Mid to Top of my Monitors with my chair all the way up. While I edit I must remember to lower/raise my chair, push my butt out, stand up and stretch, take a break, etc. Varying my position throughout the day seems to be what works best for me.

Our bodies are different so the key is to excercise the correct posture(s) and desk setup(s) for YOU.

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People's Champ ,
Feb 05, 2014 Feb 05, 2014

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I am still considering using a standing desk. It would not fit the decor of the room though, and until we move back to a place where the houses are bigger and I can have a room I do not have to share, that probably has to be sidelined.

I am currently experimenting with my eyes just above the middle line of the monitors. Much to my surprise, it seems to be working quite nicely. I need a new chair to raise me up a bit higher, but when I get it, I may find that I have become used to sitting a bit low.

I am also sitting closer to the monitors that I ever have before by about 5 inches. That is proving interesting. I am not sure if I will continue to do that.

We'll see.

Now that I have a Smart TV, I find myself marking YouTube videos, mostly photography tutorials, to watch later, and then I go into the other room and watch them from my easy chair on the big TV. So I am not passively watching videos much anymore, just actively working. That seems to make a difference, and cuts back on the time I am in the chair anyway.

artofzootography.com

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Explorer ,
Feb 06, 2014 Feb 06, 2014

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I just got an email about one more addition to this thread, and can see a few people were interested. In my own experience since I raised the screens and am looking a little up I could report some benefit but I would be lying! As the benefit is only due to very little work at this desk! And I realise that many of you can't afford to disregard the office until it gets better.

But really I don't think my new postion has improved anything at all, as I feel some stress at the back of my neck. I have a new pair of glasses set for the computer and so focussed a little further than my reading glasses but some how I feel the need to get closer to the screen! My chair is one of those suposed to be for best comfort...I find it only ok. I guess the best advice I was reminded of was to have a break now and then instead to be glued to the chair!

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People's Champ ,
Feb 07, 2014 Feb 07, 2014

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The jury is still out for me.

What I really need is a chair that I don't slouch in. An Easy Chair cut down to desk chair proportions.

I would love to work in one of those eggs, where the chair and screens are firmly attached, but where I could lean way back, or even flat on my back, and have the screens stay at the right position, and the speakers set properly for 5.1 sound. And if it was completely sound proof so that I could use it for voiceovers when I wanted to, or open it up the rest of the time, all the better.

artofzootography.com

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LEGEND ,
Feb 07, 2014 Feb 07, 2014

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Steven,

I was thinking that one of those inversion rigs might be useful for the posture, when doing computer work, but then, the monitor, and keyboard would need to be mounted upside down...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQLD4-hG5IE

Hunt

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People's Champ ,
Feb 07, 2014 Feb 07, 2014

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I don't need that much blood flowing to my head, but being flat on my back would be interesting. I would have to have the keyboard set up to fit perfectly so I would not actually have to hold up my arms the entire time, and a trackball or a Wacom maybe?

artofzootography.com

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