Working in an office and sitting down in front of a computer all day can be detrimental to your posture. Sitting on an uncomfortable chair with poor posture can leave you with crippling neck, shoulder and back pain. And, well… as Physios, we should know! So here is the best position for sitting at work and some ways to cope with and prevent poor posture and office injuries.
Choose the right chair
This most definitely is the most important factor to being in the best position when sitting at work. Your chair must have the proper lumbar support in order to keep the natural curvature of the spine. When sitting in this supportive chair, ensure your knees are perpendicular to your hips, with your knees directly over your ankles. If you have trouble doing this, you can try adding a foot stool to keep the desired hip and knee angles at 90 degrees. This will also take pressure off your knees. We can see Jenny below is not using a foot stool but the legs of the chair. This should be replaced with a foot stool. Bad form from Physioflex there!!
Monitor at Eye Level
Keeping your computer monitor at eye level, or just under eye level, can help alleviate neck pain. By keeping your computer monitor at a higher height, you are holding your head up high, keeping your neck straight, and therefore correcting your posture. It is also important to keep your shoulders upright too. A trick to use is to pretend you are holding something between your shoulder blades.
Make sure that your elbows are by your side and that the elbows are at 90 degrees or right angles. This ensures that there is no pressure on your shoulders and neck.Your shoulders shoulder be relaxes at all times.
Wrist pain can also be common with long hours at the desk and computer. This is from overuse of the tendons by typing and using the mouse and holding poisitions for too long. To help manage this, you should stretch your wrists from time to time. This can be done by doing the prayer stretch, where you place your hands together in a prayer positions and pushing your elbows upwards. You can also use a gel pad that should fit comfortably under your wrist. This will keep your wrist in a more neutral position so that the hand is not angled upward from the arm. You can also try a mouse that lets you keep your wrist and hand in neutral position (palm faced inward instead of down toward table).
Taking regular breaks away from your desk helps with reducing strain put on your back. At a minimum, you should stand up, walk around, or even stretch once an hour. Doing this also boosts your blood circulation. Which leads us to…..
Exercise is key! Exercising on a regular basis helps by relieving tension in the body from your office job. It helps to maintain strength in your muscles and increases circulation. Exercising also helps to clear your mind after a long day at work. It changes the position of every joint and muscle and ensures you do not build up pressure in one particular area. We are often asked so what is the best position? To which we will reply “your best position is your next position!” Check here for any tips to stay motivated with your exercise
Implementing these tips and tricks into your daily life will help to manage stress put on your body at work. It will ensure that you can maintain positions for longer without concern. However remember that the gold standard is to keep changing your position. Move from sitting to standing to sitting, to a stretch, to a walk and then back to your desk. Keep moving. If you are still feeling some pain after trying all of this advice, then come visit us at here at PhysioFlex in Southport. We have also found a great video if you would like something more visual.You can check that out here.