I am trying to be more aware of my posture. I have mild hyperkyphosis so I want to be as upright in posture as I can. Sometimes esp. at the computer I catch myself doing a wee bit of bending forward and I then make a conscious effort to pull my shoulders back and straighten up my head .And, then within a little while I catch myself forward bending again. I am thinking as my head bends slightly down to look at the monitor that my shoulders start to follow.
I have noticed that usually when I am tackling an osteoporosis related issue-that others on this board have looked at the issue before me and thought of some pretty clever fixes. Any ideas with this bending forward when sitting at the computer? I suppose I could raise the monitor to get it at eye level when I am looking straight ahead. I am just wondering how I would raise the monitor and keep it steady . Have others figured this out?? It looks like I need to get the monitor up almost 12inches.
If you want to raise the monitor around 12 inches, you could try something like the Rubbermaid One-Step Stackable Economy Step Stool. Last July I decided to raise my monitor and keyboard so that I would be standing at the computer, and I use something similar (only slightly larger, around 16" square). I find it is easier to stand up straight than it is to sit up straight, and changing computer "sitting time" to "standing time" should be better for my bones. Also, whenever I go to my computer I try to spend the first few minutes standing on one foot.
They do have computer monitor stands that work great. I have one I love that can be moved up to any height very eaily. So, if I want to sit I move it eye level. Or if I'm standing, I can adjust it as needed. Many have a keyboard holder but it always seemed too high for me. Be sure to check the way they attach & get some help installing if you have a heavy monitor. I have had mine for a while & love it. Let me know if you want any more info. You can try what PikaB suggests to see if what you think first. If it helps, the stands work even better without losing any desk space.
Thank you both!!! I am so glad that I asked.
Pika B- I think standing would be great but I don't understand exactly how you accomplishe doing the computer in a standing position.Would you be so kind as to give me a clearer picture of how it is done. I am just having trouble visualizing how to raise the monitor and keyboard enough from the desk level where they presently are. Standing would I believe be the prefereable mode and getting the monitor at eye level while standing . PikaB -good idea too on the one foot standing .
Sierra walker-I like your suggestion as well but if I can accomplish the standing which I hadn't really thought do-able, I am going to try the standing first.
osteoblast - I used to work on computers so I have a counter that is fairly high which allows me to stand easily. My keyboard sits on the counter and monitor is a foot or so higher. I stand, monitor is eye level. When tired, I can use a chair which is tall. I have another system set-up with a massage chair in my living room. (have been trying this out the past month) Curious how PikaB stands if she uses a normal desk. Good question.
SierraWalker- I am trying to visualize how you are doing this. So for example if you put the keyboard on a raised counter - I have a counter that is about 42 inches high - is that similar to the height of the counter that you are using--and then how do you work it out from there? That is , does the keyboard just sit on the counter and do you need to raise the monitor?
Pika B- are you starting from a counter of about that height?
Pika B and Sierra Walker---I just wanted to let you both know that on another thread "Pika B-weighted vest" I put some info about the BEST(that is the name of it) exercise program that I think both of you would be interested in . You can look at my message and you will find details of the program including videos at Citracal. Sierra Walker you had a recent question about exercise and over the past yr and a half of looking I have never seen anything as comprehensive and thought out as well as the BEST program that was developed at the University of Arizona--to me it is absolutely brilliant! I would love to hear your opinions. I just wanted to mention it here if you weren't looking at the other thread. It is a topic that should have its own thread though because it could be of great interest.
Last edited by osteoblast; 02-06-2008 at 11:07 AM.
Osteoblast - thanks for the info on the exercise program! I WILL check it out, it sounds great.
My counter measures 37" high & I stand on 1" pads. My monitor sits about 9" higher. Keyboard & mouse on the counter, so I can stand resting my hands on the keyboard while looking straight ahead at my monitor. (Depends on the monitor, one is a bit lower.) That has worked well for me, as I have had 2-3 computers running & I walked between them for repairs, installs. I'm 5'4" or just a bit less. I used this counter as there were times I was unable to sit due to back pain. I had not thought about the benefits of standing until your question. Stronger bones through computing.....So, thanks! I hope that helps you too.
SierraWalker-does your monitor just sit on the counter or is it further elevated on the counter by something that it sits i on?
PikaB-In a way it would be easier if I could transform the desk to work for this instead of the kitchen counter. So, regarding the 16 inch stand that you put on the desk ,could you tell me who makes the stand is so I can look for it ? Glad to hear you really like your exercise program! My exercise program has just been cobbled together- from various places and I feel that there were gaps . And, it has become boring. Besides your standing at the computer , do you have any other tricks you have worked out that are bone friendly that you would want to share? One thing I would mention to you is that I have the Juvent and have used it for a little over a year now.I know you said you were considering it. While I have had no spinal bmd improvement on forteo (15 months)and in fact have lost , my hips have shown great improvement and I am now in osteopenia in the hips. As forteo doesn't work on the hips, I have to think it is either the juvent and/or the 8 miles walking a day in combination with the juvent and perhaps some stimulation from the forteo. The gains just seem in excess of what I have read for exercise. My bmd raw scores g/cm2 have increased 8-9% both total hips right and left over the past year. Now I just need to find some way to see at least a stopping of the spinal loss and achieve a maintenance or hopefully some gain. I just know I need to change something- that is also why changing my program more to the BEST program - a program completely designed to increase bmd and stability all geared toward osteoporosis and totally thought out by exercise physiologists seems to be what I need to try now.Also the program looks soooo much more challenging than what I am doing. I am going to continue with the 8 miles walking at least 5 days a week. I think I have become addicted to the walking-really. It may be some sort of endorphin thing--I really just keep it to a brisk walk so I wouldn't say a runner's high but still maybe the distance thing works the same effect.The walking burns off some tension and I just feel better.
Osteoblast - I have 2 monitor arms on both sides of my counter which I can adjust but rarely do. The 3rd monitor sits on a lightweight stand about 7" putting the monitor at eye level.
The BEST Program looks very interesting to me. I was just checking it out & think I will follow it. I will print out some of the exercises & take to the gym. The rest I'll do at my home in the evening. That's my plan right now anyways, I'm new to weight lifting so this is a great help! Thanks! You have to tell us if the book is worth it, I did not see it yet.
Hi Osteo: Pika and Sierrawalker have given you some excellent suggestions. I've thought about the standing while computing, but find I get tired easily doing that. Since you are strong you could handle it.
If you ever get a new computer or monitor get the type that has the telescoping base, which is what Sierra was talking about I think. I'm thinking about a new comp so I've looked at the telescoping monitors and will get the one that has the most movement in height.
Since I've been going to PT for posture and neck strengthening I can tell you a few things that are easy to do and keep your neck and back straight. First, always keep your ears lined up over the top of your shoulders, this prevents you from leaning forward, you would do this in any situation, walking, sitting, standing etc. You have to constantly remind yourself to do this but if you get in the habit of doing it all the time you'll find you'll start doing it automatically. I have my computer raised as well, and I used the styrofoam box the forteo came in which is about 6 inches in height, and that was all I needed to raise the monitor to eye level. Your eyes should be level with the middle of the monitor. When you are typing you have to look down some, but only move your eyes. Do you have a Swiss ball? I use my sometimes instead of a computer chair because it forces you to constantly balance and keep your core tight, otherwise you'll notice the ball will move. It's not hard to use and and is recommended by many for core strengthening, correct posture, and mental accuity. When these were used in schools the children using them had much higher test scores. You could try this to see what I mean, and see if it helps. The ball has to be big enough so that your kness are in a 90 degree angle. I use the large one because I'm 5' 6"+ so the medium size is too low for me. If you never tried this, and want to, practice with a ball first. If you slump at all the ball will move so you have to be constantly aware of it, but it does work.
I could give you a list of all the posture exercises I do, but there are a lot of them so I don't know if you want them all. Let me know. Or I could pick the ones I like best.
Last edited by DesertBloom; 02-06-2008 at 01:26 PM.
DesertBloom-Hi and thanks for chiming in! Thank you for mentioning about the new monitor base-good to know. I need to resolve this though with my vintage monitor. Yes, I have a Swiss Ball- if that is what the large inflateable ball is called that you sit/exercise on. I really do need to work out the computer situation because I always feel guilty/bad when I am on the computer. Because 1. I don't want to do so much time sitting and esp. because of 2. the slump effect that keeps happening. My knees are at the 90degree angle when I sit on the ball which I do sometimes at the computer.But, I do not notice any wobble or anything when I do slowly go into my slump --head goes down and thoracic section starts going over too.
Yes, I would love to hear about your exercises that you like the most for keeping in proper upright alignment. As you say, you have to keep reminding yourself. It is just a constant thing for me at the computer , the way it is now, because of the monitor level. How do you keep remembering to check yourself????? I have sometimes thought they(who I do not know) should invent a monitor that would make a beep when you go into a slump. I would think it could be worn around your neck and have a device to measure angle and do the beep.What do you think?
Have you seen the BEST exercise program at Citracal- there are alot of components. You can see alot of them on the video they have there. Some are definite no no's for me with bending but there is also alot there that is ok. I would think that you would be very interested in looking at the program too- to see the intelligence used in the design of the program and to hunt through and see what may work for you if you wanted to alter your routine at all. Also I spoke with one of the program designers at Univ of Arizona and she sent me some of the published research that supported improvement in bmd. I will post more about this after looking into it further and trying it for awhile.
Hi Osteo: If you constantly keep your ears over your shoulders, which also requires a tucking in movement of the chin, you can't slump forward. Do you have your ball (we're talking about the same ball) inflated really good/hard, and are you hips and knees at a 90% angle? My ball looses air fast and I have to reenflate it once a week or it will be too wobbly. I use it for many different exercises, but if it's low on air and I sit on it it won't work right.
I just sat on mine and if I even move forward with my shoulders by a inch, the ball rolls slightly forward, now if you are only moving your head forwards (dropping it) that's a different story, the ball doesn't move. If you keep training yourself to keep your ears aligned with your shoulders the head drop won't happen, neither will the shoulder slump. With your ears aligned the only way you can move forward is at the hips. If you loose concentration on the position of the ears, then your head will drop again. There are posture harnesses that they sell at medical supply stores that keep you from rounding you shoulders, they won't keep your neck straight but some people use these, and I've thought of buying one to sleep in. It keeps your shoulders pulled back and "prevents" them from rising up like they do when you lift you shoulder towards your ears, sort of like the body movement you do when you are trying to convey "I don't know" with body language-does that make sense. I find it hard to explain body movements and exercises in print.
After my shoulder surgery I noticed that I was lifting my shoulders up in my sleep, because I would wake up with my shoulders lifted towards my ears like you get when you are really tense. This was the reason I started looking at shoulder harnesses, but never bought one. I'm trying to simulate the same thing naturally without the harness, because I hate to get dependent on a device or another brace because I have so "many" of them, so I do my shoulder/neck stretches before bed which is helping some, but not completely. My PT thinks that the pain is causing my to go into a gaurded position while I'm asleep, plus my hands clench up too, which isn't helping my carpal tunnel. My problem is it happens when I'm sound asleep so I may have to get one anyway, because I'm not aware that I'm doing it until I wake up in that position.
I know that keeping you ears above your shoulders sounds really simple and maybe not like anything effective but if you do it correctly your neck/shoulders will always be completely straight. There are also those travel pillows that fit around your neck to prevent you from tipping your neck forward, sideways, and back which you can use to sleep sitting up but also you can use them at the computer to keep your neck straight. They are supposed to prevent your chin from tipping forward, but I've never tried one. Sammons Preston has a really good medical supply catalog if you want to send for a free copy. I'm getting a traction device from them through my PT, but hopefully my ins will pay for it because it almost $900.00.
I haven't heard of the Citracal exercises you mentioned but will look into it later in the week. I also looked at the brace you mentioned, but I need to read more about it, because I thought it said it was for people with active fx's that haven't been treated yet. I could be wrong but I know I read that somewhere on the site. I need to read it again and think about it. Just wanted to let you know I haven't forgot about it.
Last edited by DesertBloom; 02-06-2008 at 03:55 PM.
Ideally the set up should be ergonomically correct so your body isn't getting stressed while using the computer. My employer had an ergonomic evaluation done by a professional so I was lucky. I have a motorized desk (at work) so I can stand or sit but I mostly stand all the time. My monitor is raised up to eye level with a riser and is straight out in front of me. I was told by the evaluater that you should have your monitor placed in the center so your now straining your neck/back to see to the left or to the right. The hand correct hand position is different when your sitting or standing to type. For a standing position the key board should be at an angle so you can place it on a wedge with the part closeest to your body tilted up. It's hard to explain.
My computer set up at home isn't as great although I'm working on finding a higher riser,and possibly making a wedge to put the keyboard on since I'm standing all the time.
Taape-Thank you for the imput. Your work situation sounds great. When you said a motorized desk, it sounded like something you would drive around the office- now that would be something .I am still trying to get this figured out. I started looking in catalogs on line for a monitor that would get the computer high enough so I could stand and using the desk which is at 29"high as the base. I just can't find any stands that will do the job yet.... I have found a 4" stand. Not enough height for sure! And I am interested in what you are saying about the keyboard. I don't understand how to accomplish this . Would you think the keyboard is attached to the stand at the level of where the monitor sits and it pulls out and is at an angle?? If someone can enlighten me it would be great! Maybe I need to go out to an office supply store and see what is possible. Thanks Taape!!!
Wow, what an interesting thread! I would have never thought to use my exercise ball in place of my chair while sitting at the computer! I too find myself slouching and bending forward. I just started a comprehensive pain management and physical therapy/occupational therapy program and last week we were talking about computer ergonomics. I realized my whole set up was wrong. I have since drastically improved my office desk with my supervisors help, but my home "office" leaves much to be desired.
Sounds like everything I have learned so far has been covered here, but I wanted to mention that something else that helps me is to get up and walk around and stretch every twenty minutes or so if I am going to be on the computer for a while. The longer the time I am sitting on the computer engrossed in whatever I am doing the more I slouch. So forcing myself to get up for a few minutes brings me back to being more aware of my body. Just thought I would throw that in there. Thanks for all the info offered here!
DesertBloom- Probably you are right that I need to reinflate the ball. I haven't done it in a year -it must be time. Now I just need to find where I put the stuff to do it! I am going to try to be very careful about the ears over shoulders and chin tucked in. Thank you for mentioning the little neck pillow thing, that might be useful. I will request a catalog.
My desk is really a flat table top with a motor so it can be moved up and down - for sitting or standing. Otherwise the table top is just like a regular flat surface. The stand I have for the monitor was not high enough so I have two of them on top of one another. For home, I'm going to see if a custom one could be made but for work, they buy out of a catalog. If your planning to sit at the desk as well as stand then you need a riser that is adjustable or you can add or take away a book or two if your using phone books to elevate to the correct eye level. Because if you raise the monitor to the correct level while standing it would bend your neck to see monitor if you were sitting down.
Now for the keyboard position ~ if your standing up you want the keyboard at an angle. I wish I knew the degrees but I don't.You want your wrists higher than your fingers, with your fingers pointing down but not such an angle that they point straight down towards your feet. The device I have attaches to the table top and it adjusts the angle and then the keyboard sits on top of it. Not the best design but I have a non slip piece of plastic on it so the keyboard doesn't slip down towards the table top. I think a wedge cut out out of wood or plastic at the correct angle would work fine. The hand position is very different if your sitting down using the computer. I hope this description makes some sense. I wish I could draw it for you.
...So, regarding the 16 inch stand that you put on the desk ,could you tell me who makes the stand is so I can look for it? ...One thing I would mention to you is that I have the Juvent and have used it for a little over a year now...
The little stand/table that I use was made many years ago by an manufacturer that is no longer in business. But any little side table that's the height you want should work as well.
A week ago I switched from the Soloflex WBV to Juvent. It seems much more promising.
Hi Elaine: If you try using the ball for a chair just be careful and practice with it first. If the ball isn't high enough to put your hips and knees at a 90 degree angle then you need a larger ball. They have ball chairs, but I don't know if they would work as well. The seat is a swiss ball and then it has arms, legs and a back on it. To me that seems to defeat the purpose because you want to have to keep the ball stationary while you sit, which means you constantly have to keep your back straight and stomache tight, and the arms, back and legs takes away all the work you have to do to stay on it. I don't use my ball all the time but I alternate between that and my computer chair. I also make sure I get up frequently and move around doing stretches. Sitting is really bad for your spine.