So, you’ve discovered that your monitor (laptop, tablet or desktop computer screen) is positioned too low on your desk (read my post about 4 monitor positions that cause neck pain) causing you to bend your neck for too long, straining your neck. How can you go about correcting this and ease up the strain on your neck causing your neck pain?
Well, firstly, the changes to your monitor are entirely dependent on the type of technical device that you use. There are, however, certain principles that apply to all types of devices with a monitor that you might use that you need to be aware of in order to adjust your monitor correctly and reduce your neck pain.
- Using the same device’s keyboard, mouse (or touch pad) and monitor and sit in the correct position for your body can be a bit tricky. Often this scenario will place you in a really poor posture when using your device, and if this posture is prolonged, it will likely result in you developing neck pain. The way out of this it to lower your chair until your head is looking straight ahead at your screen and place the keyboard of your laptop far enough away so that your elbows are >90 degrees (open elbow angle) but not so far that when you lean back in your chair, your monitor is further than arms’ length away (which will result in forward leaning posture creating high risk of back and neck pain). Phew!!
- Again, whether you are using a laptop or desktop (or tablet), your monitor needs to be at eye level, allowing the curve in your neck to remain neutral (chin level, not tucked in or poking out). Your cervical lordosis (neck curve inwards as in the xray below) is pivotal for good posture behind your device.
3. You will need some assistive device to help raise your monitor to the correct height. Some desktop monitors have a built-in system that allows you to move the monitor up or down as desired, but most do not.
Let’s consider each scenario separately:
If You Use a Desktop Monitor
If you are using a normal, old fashioned desktop monitor, this will be one of the easier scenarios to raise your screen to the correct height. Just use books (it’s cheaper), a monitor raise or an adjustable monitor arm (check our our monitor raise and adjustable monitor arm in our shop).
If You Use a Laptop
People who use laptops sit in terrible postures unless they use a laptop raise (check out our laptop raise) or books to elevate the laptop monitor to eye level and use a second keyboard and mouse. Please ensure that you purchase a proper laptop raise that elevates the monitor sufficiently and doesn’t do a half job and leave you bending forwards over your machine. Alternatively, lower your chair until your monitor is at eye level as described above.
“Alu MacBook Desk shot” by David under Licence CC BY 2.0If You Use a Tablet
Tablets are an even greater ergonomic risk than laptops. Their screens are small and their keyboards laughable. If you’re crazy enough to use it like a working computer, you will have to get a tablet stand (and more than likely need to raise even that up on books to get it to the right height) as well as a second keyboard and mouse (check out our tablet stand).
This tablet raise/stand allows you to use your tablet like a computer, however, it will still need to be raised further on books etc to get the screen to eye level. In addition, you will also need a keyboard and mouse to allow for proper ergonomics and to avoid unnecessary back and neck pain.