Which one are you? The painstaking 2 finger typer or the smug finger flying touch typer?
Does it really matter if you can touch type or not? What are the implications for your health in the workplace? How does something so seemingly insignificant make such a difference?
I’ve written a number of posts on computer posture (click here to read about how your monitor position can cause neck pain) and neck pain (Click here to read about correcting a monitor positioned too far or too low on your desk causing neck pain). One thing I haven’t discussed is how touch typing (or not) can influence your neck pain.
As I mentioned previously, 30-50 % of people will suffer from neck pain and office workers are at a greater risk than others for developing neck pain. One of the reasons that neck pain is so common in the office environment is that people bend their neck too much in an office job. Research has shown that individuals who bend their neck for 70% or more during the day dramatically increase their risk of developing neck pain compared to their colleagues who don’t.
What are some of the reasons that cause people to bend their neck for too in an office environment?
- The computer/laptop/tablet monitor that you’re using is positioned too low on your desk while you work, forcing you to bend your neck.
- You are working with documents a lot and don’t have a document holder to hold them up at eye level, thus causing you to bend your neck while you work.
- You don’t know how to touch type and you are forced to keep looking at your hands when you use the keyboard, forcing you to bend your neck throughout the day while you work.
When I go around to companies and perform office ergonomics, helping people to sit correctly at their computer workstations, sometimes correcting someone’s computer ergonomics is not enough to resolve the problem. If an employee constantly still develops neck pain despite having their computer workstation setup correctly (click here to view software to help you correct your computer ergonomics) , and neck injuries such as whiplash, or arthritis, or any systemic diseases which may cause neck pain are not clouding the picture, the reason why they may still be developing neck pain is possibly due to the fact that they are 2 finger typers, constantly looking down at their keyboard.
What is the solution when an inability to touch type is the problem? Simple, but it does require some effort. Learn how to type properly. There are a number of FREE online typing courses:
I’m sure there are more, just google it if you don’t like any of the one’s I’ve mentioned above. If you do use any of the above, I would appreciate feedback to help with the recommendation to others. Please post comments to this article.
Learning how to touch type will help you to keep working in a healthy body posture, reducing your need to bend your neck so often through the day and therefore reduce your risk of developing neck pain. Another bonus to learning to touch type is that the increased fluidity and speed of your new found typing skills will also help you to work faster which may also help reduce some of the deadline stress associated with your job. Stress in and of itself can also be a factor in your neck pain (read my post about stress and neck pain). A double bonus. Good luck and please let me know how it goes.
Ariens G.A.M., B. P. (2001). Are neck flexionk, neck rotation, and sitting at work a risk for neck pain? Results of a prospective cohort study. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 200-207.
Cagnie B., D. L. (2007, May). Individual and work related risk factors for neck pain among office workers: a cross sectional study. European Spine, 16(5), 679-686.
Guzman J., H. E.-J. (2008). A new conceptual model of neck pain linking onset, course and care: The bone and joint decade 2000-2010 task force on neck pain and its associated disorders. Spine, 33(4S), S14-S23.
Guzman J., H. S.-J. (2009, February). Clinical practice implications of the bone and joint decade 2000-2010 task force on neck pain and its associated disorders. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 32(2S), S227-S243.