How to prevent Complaints to Arms, Neck and/or Shoulders?
CANS stands for Complaints to Arms, Neck and/or Shoulders that have not arisen as a result of an acute trauma or which are not caused by a systematic illness. These complaints arise when you work in the same posture for a long time or make repetitive movements. The complaints occur in the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists and hands. The complaints can manifest themselves as pain, fatigue, irritation of muscles and tendons, tingling, a deaf feeling or loss of strength. Previously, RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) or a mouse arm was also mentioned.
How do you prevent RSI / CANS?
- Make sure you have a good starting position in your working posture and change your posture regularly.
- Take regular breaks.
- Alternate screen work with other work.
- Rest after every hour of screen work 10 minutes.
- Do not work more than 5 to 6 hours per day on a monitor. For laptop users, the standard is 2 hours per day, unless a laptop stand is used in combination with a separate keyboard and mouse.
- Take complaints seriously. Initial complaints (pain, tingling, stiff or deaf feeling) can quickly become serious!
Desk and chair
- The back of the chair must be adjustable.
- The chair must be safe and stable and equipped with castors.
- The armrests must be adjustable.
- Bring the chair to the height that suits you. Stand in front of the chair and make sure that the seat is at the level of the underside of your kneecap, thigh horizontal when you are sitting.
- There should still be a space for fists between the seat and the hollow of the knee.
- Sit as far back of your chair as possible and bring the lumbar support at the same height as the hollow in your back so that it provides support in the lumbar region.
- Make sure that the armrests support the elbows slightly when the upper and lower arms are at a 90° angle. In this position, the shoulders remain relaxed.
- If the worktable is adjustable in height, you should adjust the worktop to the same height as your armrests. Often the worktop is not adjustable in height. In that case, the height of the seat has to be changed. Pay attention to the combination of worktop height and chair height. Sometimes a footstool is necessary to achieve the ideal combination.
- The worktop must be at least 120 cm wide and 80 cm deep. The worktop must have a matt and light-coloured surface.
- In addition, sufficient space is required for the legs and feet (no drawer unit, system cupboards or wastepaper basket under the desk).
Monitor, keyboard and mouse
- Always sit directly in front of the monitor and keyboard.
- Do not sit too close to the monitor. The eyes are less stressed with the following distance: 17 inch screens: distance between 60-70 cm, 19 and 21 inch screens: distance between 60-80 cm.
- Position the monitor so that there is no light from above. This can be checked by briefly turning off the monitor.
- Position the monitor at right angles to the window. This reduces the chance of reflection and prevents excessive contrast differences. This prevents tired eyes.
- Position the screen at eye level (i.e. the top line of the screen should be at eye level).
- Reset brightness and contrast when the lighting in the study changes.
- Preferably place the screen 2 to 3 metres from the façade.
- Set the computer to work with dark letters on a light background with a frequency of at least 70 hertz. This prevents headaches and eye fatigue.
- The keyboard should not move while typing.
- There must be enough space for the keyboard (± 7 cm) to allow the wrists to rest on the worktop when resting.
- Keep hands in line with the forearms, with the elbows resting on the armrests of the chair.
- Let forearms rest on the table.
- Place the keyboard in the lowest position (fold legs, if it already has a slight incline).
- Operate the mouse from the forearm, not from your wrist, avoiding sideways hand movements. Make sure that the mouse speed is not too high and give the mouse space.
- Whenever possible, use function or shortcut keys instead of the mouse. Set the cursor speed of the mouse slowly.
- Use pause software e.g. Work & Move
- Relax your muscles regularly. The pause software program contains a number of relaxation exercises. Nice for in between or after a warning on the tachograph. Take the signals from the break program seriously.
For frequent use of a laptop the same rules apply as for a PC. There are disadvantages to working with a laptop. It is more difficult to adopt an optimal working posture due to the design of the device. Using a laptop without the right tools is allowed for a maximum of 2 hours per day. If you work with a laptop for more than 2 hours, you need to use the right tools.
Laptop users can use a laptop stand in combination with a separate keyboard and mouse. The separate keyboard and mouse create a more relaxed working posture.
If you need to retype texts or enter data, documents are sometimes in front of the keyboard or next to it. This causes an unnatural position of the cervical vertebrae and strained neck, back and shoulder muscles. A document holder can overcome this (preferably one that can be placed between the monitor and the keyboard).
Work & Move on your own PC/laptop
Want to work in a healthier way on your computer? Anti-RSI software can help.
The software tool WORK & MOVE that we offer to employees / students, is the personal coach, which ensures sufficient alternation between concentrated screen work and mental and physical movement. This software provides insight and feedback on computer behavior. Based on a personal need, the software advises an optimal work-movement-rest rhythm and helps to master this rhythm. By periodically inserting mental and physical movement moments, the employee remains concentrated and energetic, makes fewer mistakes and improves the quality of the work. WORK & MOVE ensures that the employee/student gets more done during a working day and has more energy at the end of a working day.
You can download the software at your own PC/laptop.
In the WORK & MOVE download center you will also find the Quick Start installation manual for stand-alone installation.
Then you need a data-key to activate the license. This can be requested at Anita Mosterd, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employees / students who want to use WORK & MOVE at home are also entitled to helpdesk support via WORK & MOVE.
If you have a question about WORK & MOVE, please contact email@example.com (Advisor Health, Safety & Environment Tilburg University).