Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How can I reduce the soreness in my mousing hand?

    This could be related to the mouse and the way you use it. Are you:

    • Gripping the mouse while waiting to click or read the screen?
    • Using the thumb & 4th finger to direct the mouse?
    • Resting the wrist on the desk and pivoting the mouse with the hand?
    • Using the mouse frequently?
    • Positioning your keyboard tray in a positive tilt or above or below seated elbow height?

    Click here for Shortcuts for Microsoft Outlook Handout

  2. My shoulder on the side that I mouse gets sore if I'm working too long - what could be causing this?

    Working with your forearm raised above seated elbow height or away from your torso requires extra muscle effort and can cause or aggravate fatigue and discomfort in the shoulder.

    Check your positioning at the keyboard and your chair to ensure:

    • The mouse is positioned as close to the keyboard as possible.
    • The mouse should be on the same level as your keyboard.
    • Adjust your armrest on your chair so it supports your arm in a relaxed shoulder position close to your torso.
    • Ensure your keyboard tray is at the same height as your armrests (relaxed elbow height).
    • Stop work every 30-60 minutes for 30-60 seconds to minimize muscle fatigue/stretch.
  3. My lower back gets sore if I sit for too long and sometimes I get pain and numbness down my leg. What could this be caused by and how can I prevent this?

    Sitting can increase the compressive loads on your spine. When combined with an unsupported low back curve or a slumped posture, this can lead to fatigue and low back pain. This can also irritate the nerve and cause the leg symptoms described.

    • Start by checking that your chair height allows your thighs to be parallel to the floor (feet on the floor or on a footstool). Ensure your hips are well back in the seat pan.
    • Adjust the back rest height so the curve of the chair's backrest is in the hollow of your back.
    • Position the chair close enough to the keyboard so your shoulder blades stay in contact with the chair when working.
    • If you are leaning forward to read the screen, position the screen closer.

  4. I am getting more headaches since working longer hours at the computer. What can I do to prevent this?

    Headaches can have a variety of causes. Try the following to see if your symptoms are reduced:

    • Ensure monitor is close enough to read the screen without leaning forward. This head forward posture can aggravate the neck and cause headaches
    • Ensure the font size is large enough to read without effort as this can over work the eye muscles.
  5. I am now using progressive lenses and am having difficulty reading the screen and my neck is sore. What can I do to improve this?

    Progressive lenses have 2 distinct focal ranges with a gradual transition between the two; the top of the lens is used to view distance and the bottom to read. If the monitor is too high or too far away, you may be lifting your chin and leaning forward to read the top of your screen. In order to accommodate standard progressive lens use when reading the screen, the top of the monitor screen should ideally be 5-6” lower than the seated eye height to allow for reading the screen through the reading portion of the lenses. Monitor distance is typically 26” or less from the eyes. This will facilitate neutral head/neck posture and should improve your comfort. Check out our Use of Progressive lenses handout under ergo tips.

  6. What should I look for when buying an ergonomic chair?

    The main things to look for are the following:

    • Chair should allow you to sit with your thighs parallel to the floor, feet on the floor
    • When seated with your back in contact with the backrest, there should be no pressure on your calves from the front edge of the seat (1-2” space)
    • Good lower back support (for lumbar curve) should be incorporated into the backrest
    • Backrest should be height and angle adjustable
    • Armrests should be height adjustable and ideally pivot so that when your hands are on the keyboard your upper arms remain in close to your upper body and your forearms supported on the armrests

    For more information, refer to our Ergo Tips section and download the Optimal Workstation Set Up handout.