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Tips and tricks to avoid back pain while working with computer during pandemic

By : I Gusti Ayu Ratih Winarti

Learning from home has become the new normal amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and because of this, many students have started complaining of backaches while learning for long hours in front of computers. While studying, students spend a significant amount of time sitting in front of a desk, using computers and leaning over books while reading and writing.

According to Wikipedia, back pain is divided into neck pain (cervical), middle back pain (thoracic), lower back pain (lumbar) or coccydynia (tailbone or sacral pain) depending on the segment affected. The lumbar area is the most commonly affected area. The occurrence of back pain may be acute, sub-acute, or chronic depending on the length of time one experiences the pain. The pain may be characterized as a dull ache, shooting or piercing pain, or a burning sensation. This discomfort can radiate into the arms and hands, as well as the legs or feet and may include numbness or weakness in the legs and arms.

According to health experts, this health issue is due to improper sitting posture and positions adopted by students while studying. Students need to follow proper ergonomics and proper learning habits at home. Based on physiotherapists’ recommendations on how to prevent back pain, here are several ergonomic tips and tricks including the ideal work postures.

  • Setting up your screen: If your computer screen is set too high or low, this could contribute to shoulder or neck fatigue at the end of a long day. The top of the screen should be set at eye level.

  • Ergonomic chair: Consider using a chair with a backrest that supports the curve of your lower (lumbar) back. Sit back in the chair and position your thighs horizontal to your knees at hip level. Rest your feet comfortably on the floor or on a footrest.

  • Posture and keyboard techniques: Adjust your keyboard to a height where your elbows are bent approximately 90 degrees and your shoulders do not slump.

  • Computer Glasses: If you use progressive lenses in your glasses, a slight head tilt is needed for these glasses to function. This tilting action may be the cause of your fatigued neck. Consider asking your eye doctor for glasses that can be worn while at your desk.

  • Moving is a key part of protecting our spine throughout the day. Take frequent breaks by doing exercises as the exercise is also good for relaxing the mind and eyes.

  • Use a pillow and place it at the back of our body when working with computers.

  • Your head should be in an upright position

Regular exercise, strong core muscles and applying proper sitting habits are all keys to keeping us on track for a healthy future that is unmarked by the discomfort of serious back pain. We hope these tips will put us on the path to long-term physical fitness and functionality!


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