By addressing your workstation ergonomics you can reduce work strain, and so decrease your chance of suffering low back pain, neck pain, and other related symptoms.
Sit back in your chair, making use of the lumbar support if you have one. Your elbows should be at a 90 degree angle, with your forearms horizontal to your desk. Avoid pressure on the back of your legs from your chair, allow enough space under your desk for your legs to move comfortably, and use a footrest if needed.
If you are a touch typist, adjust your chair height so that your eyes are level with the top of your computer screen. Document holders should be next to the screen.
Typists who need to look at the keyboard may find it better to have the monitor slightly lower, so minimising the need for head movement between the two. Document holders should be between the screen and keyboard.
Avoid glare on your computer screen.
Have frequent, regular, breaks away from your workstation (5 minutes every hour), allowing you to move freely and take your eyes off the computer screen.
If you suffer from RSI, including Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and lateral epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow), you may consider that it is worthwhile to use a vertical mouse, the aim of which is to hold the hand in a more anatomically neutral position.
Using an exercise (swiss) ball as a chair
Use of an exercise (Swiss) ball as a chair, whether at home or, if an employer allows, in the office, aids core strength, and posture, by constantly engaging vital core postural muscles. Care must be taken to maintain good posture through the region of the upper back, neck and shoulder girdle, as well as lower back.
If you are not used to sitting on a Swiss ball, have low back problems, or have poor core strength, it may be advisable to limit using a Swiss ball to 10-15 minute sessions at first to prevent fatigue of muscles.
Please gain professional advice if you have low back problems such as a disc injury before using an exercise ball as a seat.
When using a laptop, or similar, for long periods of time, there are additional ergonomic considerations, especially if you do not have the ability to make a workstation around your laptop. This may be the case, for example, if you are working on a train, or you move your laptop between rooms of your house. Sustained laptop use can result in compromising your neck, shoulder girdle, and spine, with an increased possibility of suffering headaches. Maintaining a head position in front of the bodies' natural center of gravity, for example, increases the amount of work the muscles at the back of your neck and back need to perform, so compromising them.
Due to the small nature of laptop keyboards, there is an increased risk of RSI with using them. If possible, a separate (or ergonomic) keyboard and mouse should be used in combination with raising the laptop so it it's screen is at a more appropriate height. Alternatively, a separate screen which can be raised to an appropriate level should be considered. This also being the case if the laptop has a small screen, so preventing eye strain, or any postural changes which may result from needing to be able to see the screen effectively.