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5 tips for avoiding 'tech hunch' during Cyber Week

November 27, 2015
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Teresa Bellingar standing ergonomist Haworth
Teresa Bellingar, right, is a senior corporate ergonomist with Haworth, offers ergonomic tips to help avoid "tech hunch." Courtesy Haworth

Cyber Week is days away, and an ergonomist at an office furniture maker has five tips to avoid “tech hunch” as you shop from the comfort of your couch.

Teresa Bellingar, senior corporate ergonomist at Haworth in Holland, explained last week that people have a tendency to adopt a posture known as tech hunch when spending hours at the computer screen, which can lead to cumulative injuries over time.

"Tech hunch is a posture that happens when an individual's head is angled downward toward a mobile device or computer screen," Bellingar said. "It's accompanied by raised shoulders and/or curling forward, causing back, neck and shoulder pain."

Avoiding tech hunch

1. It’s all about posture

Bellingar said when sitting, make sure to pull your shoulders down and have a level gaze. Prop the screen, so it’s at eye level, use books if needed, and keep your feet flat on the floor, though feel free to move and shift your weight.

2. Feet up

Movement helps alleviate static postures, so try leaning back with feet propped up, she suggested. 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,” Bellingar said.

3. 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,” Bellingar said.

She suggested getting up to get a glass of water periodically or getting up to talk with someone rather than sending an email or calling. She also said climbing stairs is a good way to take a break.

4. Prop up

For lounge furniture, place pillows near your lower back. This improves posture and is especially important for shorter individuals who can't comfortably reach the floor and chair back simultaneously. To alleviate tech hunch, prop your computer on your lap with pillows.

5. Invest in good seating

Bellingar said to use furniture that supports your back. 

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