How can a Computer cause Back Pain?

A survey released by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) showed that approximately 20 percent of computer workers have musculoskeletal disorders.

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) can be define as “complex of eye and vision problems related to near work that are experienced during or related to computer use.” And this condition most often occurs when the viewing demand of the task exceeds the visual abilities of the computer user. The symptoms can vary but mostly include eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision (distance or near), dry and irritated eyes, slow refocusing, neck and backache, light sensitivity, double vision, and color distortion.
It is most often said that “the eyes lead the body.”

Nature has made our visual system so dominant that we alter our body posture to accommodate any deficiency in the way we see.

In many office situations where the vision of a worker is compromised and they must adapt their posture to ease the strain on the visual system. If an older worker is using single vision reading glasses, which are designed for a 16-inch viewing distance, they must lean in toward a screen that may be 20 to 25 inches away in order to clear the image. If the same worker is using traditional bifocals, which are designed to see the near object in the lower visual field, they must tilt their head backward and lean forward to put the viewing section of the lens into proper position to see the screen. If a computer worker is most often viewing hard copy that is off to one side, they might need to keep moving their head back and forth to view the screen alternatively with the hard copy. This will also lead to neck discomfort. They will continually alternate their viewing gaze between the keyboard and the screen using head movements, which can cause neck and shoulder fatigue.

These and many other situations are all too common in the office environment and cause excessive postural accommodations that lead to the symptoms of neck and back discomfort. Researchers found that doing computer work for three hours contributed not only to eye muscle fatigue but also muscle pain in the head, neck and upper back regions. One of the main reasons for these problems is the setup of the workstation - most often the position of the monitor. All too frequently the monitor is placed either on top of the Central Processing Unit (CPU) or on a monitor stand. This places the screen in a position where the user must look either straight ahead or actually upward in their gaze.