Do you spend a lot of your time working at your computer? If you’re like a lot of people you may also experience tension and pain that seems related to this.
From my own experience, and that of my students, I urge you not to make these three common mistakes – mistakes that could leave you struggling with tension and pain for years, or giving up your computer work altogether.
1. Ignoring the Pain
How often do you ignore the pain and push on through to get the job done? Do you pop the painkillers just so you can get through your day. Or do you get so engrossed in your work that you don’t even notice the pain or the tension until you’re done?
Your body is telling you something, and ignoring it is not the answer.*
2. Blaming working at the computer
You might think the cause of your tension or pain is working at the computer. You just need to cut back how much you use it! How often do you hear people say things like, “I have back ache because I was sitting at my computer for six hours today” or “I have a headache – too much time on the computer today” or “My neck is killing me. I just can’t work at the computer more than an hour these days…” ?
At one level these things are true. It is, however, a HUGE mistake to simply blame the computer time for your woes. While sitting for long periods (if indeed you are sitting) may not be ideal, it is the WAY you sit, the WAY, in fact, that you organize your whole body, while you work at the computer, that causes the problems in the vast majority of cases, NOT the sitting at the computer itself.
3. Trusting Ergonomics to solve the problem
When you come to the realization that the WAY you sit is causing the problem, you may think that changing the ergonomics will solve it. While having a great ergonomic set up is helpful, it is of limited value if you are still locked into your excess tension and poor postural habits. Learn how to let go of these habits, however, and you can manage in even less than ideal ergonomic circumstances.
So how do you learn to let go of these habits that seem so much a part of how you do your work?
For me, and many of my students, Alexander Technique has been the answer. Alexander Technique, at its most fundamental level, teaches us how to be aware of and change our subconscious habits of tension and posture, allowing us to do any and all the activities of our life with greater ease and freedom, poise and energy. Having that skill up your sleeve, as you sit at your computer at the start of a day’s work, is priceless.
Have you had problems with aches and pains when working at the computer? Are any or all of these three “mistakes” familiar to you? If you’ve had experience with the Alexander Technique have you found it helpful? Please leave a comment in the box below. As usual, I’d love to hear from you.
* As with any pain, please have it checked out by a doctor to make sure there is no underlying problem.