GRAND RAPIDS — It’s almost Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving that traditionally marks one of the busiest online holiday shopping days of the year. In fact, it’s gotten so big that the experts at the office furniture giant Haworth now refer to it as “Cyber Week.”
And now, those experts are offering tips to avoid the syndrome known as “Tech Hunch” during a week that is expected to see upwards of $3 billion in online sales, according to the Adobe Digital Index.
“Tech Hunch is a posture that happens when an individual’s head is angled downward toward a mobile device or computer screen,” said Teresa A. Bellingar, Ph.D., a Certified Professional Ergonomicist http://www.bcpe.org/ at Haworth. “It’s accompanied by raised shoulders and/or curling forward, causing back, neck and shoulder pain. Online users, especially millennials who have grown up with technology, spend hours in injury-laden postures using a device or screen. When you couple this with a concentrated period of Tech Hunch posture during Cyber Week, the result is cumulative injuries.”
Good ergonomics practice, including these five tips, help prevent Tech Hunch on Cyber Week, or any day at the office for that matter:
* It’s all about posture: When sitting, pull shoulders down and have a level gaze. Prop screen to eye level – use books if needed. Place feet flat on the floor, but feel free to move and shift your weight.
* Feet up: Movement helps alleviate static postures, so try leaning back with feet propped up. This allows your head to be aligned with your spine. The weight of a human head is equivalent to a bowling ball – hanging forward for an extended time will negatively affect a variety of muscles.
* Get up and move: Take breaks, throughout the day, every day. Recent news has labeled sitting as the new smoking, but it’s about movement. Walk, get a glass of water. Go see the person you were going to call or email; even better to climb stairs.
* Prop up: For lounge furniture, place pillows near your lower back. This improves posture – important for shorter individuals who can’t comfortably reach the floor and chair back simultaneously. To alleviate Tech Hunch, prop computer on lap with pillows.
* Invest in good seating: look for furniture that supports your back.
“Technology use can cause injury due to poor postures,” said Bellingar, pictured at right in the photo above. “This impacts quality of life; compounding throughout the day with aches and pains that won’t disappear when you get home from work.”