Many of us spend most of our working day sitting at a desk. Working full time that means nearly 2000 hours a year at your desk! So, what can you do to make sure this doesn’t cause you pain?
Our bodies are not made to be in one position for a prolonged period. It is important to stand up and have a short walk and stretch your back and neck at least once an hour.
Tip: Set an alarm on your phone or computer to remind you to get up and move regularly.
Ergonomic desk set up
Making sure your desk is set up appropriately can make a significant difference to how you feel at the end of the day. The most important factors to consider are:
Desk and chair height – Sit upright with your back against the back of the chair and approximately a 90 degree bend at the knees. In this position the desk should be at a height where your elbows are bent 90 degrees and forearms resting comfortably on the desk. Depending on how adjustable your desk and chair are, you may need to place your feet on a box to have them flat. This position allows your neck and shoulders to relax and encourages you to maintain an upright sitting posture.
Screen height – When you are looking straight ahead, the top of your screen should be at the height of your eyes. This means you will spend most of your time in a neutral spine position, not looking up or down too much, reducing strain on the neck. Your screen should be positioned at your fingers tips when reaching forward, as in the photo.
Keyboard and mouse position – With your elbows resting by your side and forearms on the desk you should be able to use your keyboard and mouse without reaching. Other items you use regularly should also be positioned to limit the need for you to reach.
Tip: Get someone else to have a look at your sitting position, as they can check things that you can’t see. If your computer height can’t be adjusted, place some books under the screen to raise it to the correct height.
What about a sit/stand desk?
There has been an increase in people using standing desks or desks that can be adjusted between sitting to standing. The point to remember is that no matter what position you are in, it is not ideal to be in that position for prolonged periods. For this reason, an adjustable desk is ideal, as this allows you to mix up your position throughout the day. Just as sitting for prolonged periods is not good, standing can also cause fatigue and pain in the lower back. For this reason; if you are using a standing desk for prolonged periods, it is recommended to use an anti-fatigue mat.
If you need advice on any of the above please do not hesitate to call us to book an appointment on 9970 7982, or alternatively book online at beachlifephysio.com.
Aghazadeh, J., Ghaderi, M., Azghani, M., Khalkhali, M., Allahyari, T., Mohebbi, I. (2015) Anti-fatigue mats, low back pain, and electromyography: an interventional study. International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, 28 (2).
Kim, J.Y., Stuart-Buttle, C., Marras, W.S. (1994) The effects of mats on back and leg fatigue. Applied Ergonomics, 25 (1), pp 29-34.