What should you look at to prevent these problems?
- Most important is to get the weight off your shoulders. The longer you hold your elbows away from your body the stiffer your neck and shoulder muscles will get. The solution is easy: Use arm rests when you type and mouse. Support your elbows at a comfortable height. No arm rests? Use a wrist supporting keyboard.
- Use a keyboard tray that pulls out from under the desktop. A desk is too high for a keyboard. To use that you have to hold your elbows out again causing shoulder muscle strain.
- Use a chair with a lumbar support to help you sit up properly. Slouching will eventually strain your neck as you jut your jaw out to see the screen.
- Get a chair with wheels. You should move around periodically to change your position. Wheels make this convenient.
- Get your mouse in front of you as much as you can. Rotating your arm out to the side is really hard on the rotator cuff muscles. Eventually they’ll get stiff and prone to injury when you head to the squash courts.
- Take breaks. The longer you hold a posture the more your connective tissue stretches and deforms. That makes you prone to injury. Just a 5 minute break every hour to get up and move will allow the connective tissue to elastically rebound. Often it’s that easy to prevent an injury.
There are lots of other ergonomic issues I could put down (monitor at right height and centred, uncluttered mouse field, etc) but these, I think, are the biggest problems. There are no excuses for computer injuries. Usually its laziness, ignorance or an uncooperative boss that send us down the injury road. Get informed and be preventative (or get your boss informed).