HYDERABAD: Long hours spent in front of the computer coupled with a faulty posture is emerging as a major health concern among software professionals leading to a spurt in the incidence of a relatively little known problem called ‘Straight Spine Syndrome’.

Specialists working in this field point out that the prolonged stretching of neck in the front and remaining glued to the monitor has seen an increase in the computer users complaining of painful condition of neck and back areas in recent times.

This condition which is found to express itself quite early in the occupation, as early as one year into the profession, has been attributed to Forward Head Posture (FHP) adopted by many.

“Some end up stretching their neck while working on computer and this disturbs the balance leading to painful conditions of neck and back,” says Bakhtiar Choudhary of Hyderabad Spine Clinic.

In normal cervical posture, the head is held directly within the centre of the gravity and when pushed forward and held in that position for long hours, disturbs the balance. If the head is considered 10 pounds and is held three inches ahead of the centre of gravity, it essentially ‘weighs’ about 30 pounds and the neck region is forced to take that much stress, explains Prof. Maj.Choudhary.

“Slowly, the dynamics of cervical spine turn defective and leads to painful conditions,” he says. Among others, the eye monitor ergonomics such as monitor level, its size and angle, font size and colour background also have been termed as causative factors for the problem.

The chair, table and posture ergonomics are listed as the reasons for the back pain. “The seating ergonomics vary from persons to person and every computer user should adjust them according to his comfort and adopt a neutral seating position”. The best way is to stand next to the chair seat and fix it just below the knee level. The armrest, footrest, backrest and angle of chair at different level too need to be fixed at a position of comfort. “Our studies over a period of time have shown that forward head posture is emerging as the commonest defect among IT professionals,” he adds.