Being a programmer is not easy. Sitting hunched over in front of the computer is not doing anything good for your back or your neck. Back pain and neck pain is the biggest complaint programmers have. That’s not surprising given the job and intense sessions where you are not able to find that bug.
Sitting in front of a computer for a long period of time makes the programmers prone to a condition called “computer-back syndrome”. This refers to back and posture problems along with sharp pain in the lower & upper back and neck. The pandemic has made it worse because of work-from-home norms where many are working more than 8-10 hours a day.
How to avoid this?
Get a comfortable chair!
The first and the most important thing is the place where you sit. This is where you work for 8 to 10 hours and it is the most important thing you need to take care of.
A generic plastic chair or a stool is the worst thing you can use. Get an office chair or even better – a gaming chair!
One of the most important features to look for in a chair is lumbar support. This is where all the back pain starts. It helps you in supporting your natural back curve and avoiding potential lower back pain.
Getting a high chair (with a headrest) will further improve your posture and give your neck a nice resting place. It is also important that the chair you select has a height-adjustable feature to match your working table. Sitting on a chair too high or too low will further aggravate your back pain.
If you don’t have an air-conditioned room, it is better to get a chair with cloth fabric instead of a leather one.
If you don’t have a typical chair-desk setup and you work on a small table with just your laptop, here are few suggestions. Make your setup in such a way that you are not bending over or slouching to use your laptop while seated.
If your chair is a bed or a sofa, keep a rolled cloth behind your lower back and keep the laptop on your lap with legs straight ahead.
Get your working desk in order.
Your desk is as important as your chair. Keep your desk organized with all the things you need for work within your reach.
The top of the monitor’s screen should line up with your eye level to avoid neck pain and bad posture.
Avoid stretching out your arms while typing on your keyboard. Keep the mouse and keyboard at a comfortable distance and line the height of your chair with the table.
Exercise and regular breaks
Moving around is super important for your physical health. Take regular breaks and get out of the chair and walk around for a while. Take periodic breaks every 50-60 minutes. Moving around makes your muscles “un-stiff” and improves blood circulation to the back area.
If you indulge yourself in strength training, that’s good. If not, do some light stretching and strengthen your back and core muscles. Core exercise, strength training, yoga can help keep your muscles and bone strength.
Go out and take in sunlight every day to get that essential vitamin D. Helps in keeping your bones strong. In short, avoid being in your chair all day long and strengthen your back and core muscles.
If you are already experiencing back pain or neck pain or both, try heat therapy along with all the above-mentioned practices. Get a good heating pad from a reputable brand and apply on the affected area daily for 10 to 15 minutes. Heat therapy slowly helps you heal the affected area and relieve your pain.