Is your desk job affecting your posture?
It is important to set up your desk at work correctly (ergonomics), so you don’t suffer long term harm through bad posture. The rain may be hanging around at the moment and we might be feeling cheated that summer seems to have disappeared and, disgruntled, it is easy to slump at your workstation and risk bad posture. Here is why setting up your workstation correctly is so important.
For a start, we are not designed to sit or stand in one position for a prolonged amount of time. Our bodies need movement; movement encourages blood flow and blood flow is required to provide the muscles and organs with oxygen and nutrients and to remove the waste products so keep moving…
Problems you may experience, if you spend long periods of time at a desk:-
1) Neck Pain
2) Pins and needles in arms and hands
5) Low back pain
6) Mid or upper back pain
7) Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
Postural issues are not exclusive to desk bound employees. Any static position can lead to similar issues – teachers that spend all day bent over low desks helping children with their school work, decorators that spend all day painting ceilings, mums that spend their lives carrying babies around…the list is never ending. But basically – being in the same position day in day out is going to lead to problems regardless of what position it is. We, for instance, see lots of people who have jet washed the patio for 3 hours in the same position!
What should you do to improve your office set up so you are working ergonomically?
Chair – Sit all the way back in your chair.
Some chairs have a built in lumbar support, if that is the case make sure it is in line with the natural curve of your lumbar spine. If your chair doesn’t have a lumbar support you could try using a small pillow or cushion to provide extra support. (in the small of your back)
Make sure the back of your chair is upright. Adjust the height of your seat so that your hips are higher than your knees and your feet are flat on the floor.
Sometimes you can also tilt the seat to help bring your pelvis above your knees, if not try sitting on a cushion. This prevents lumbar flexion.
Adjust the arm rests on your chair so that you are able to slide your chair under your desk, this will bring you closer to your desk and prevent you having to lean forwards.
Your screen and keyboard should be directly in front of you If you are using the telephone regularly, make sure its within reach so you don’t have to twist round every time to use it. If you are using it a lot, a headset may be a good investment. NEVER USE YOUR SHOULDER TO HOLD THE PHONE TO YOUR EAR! We have treated patients who are stuck in this position!
When you are typing your wrists should rest flat on the table, you can buy keyboard wrist supports online. These can help prevent RSI if you are doing a lot of typing.
Broad shoulders? Try getting a split keyboard, this might make it a bit more comfortable for you as you can bring your hands further apart. Laptops aren’t ideal if you’re spending all day on your computer. This is because the keyboard and screen are attached you have less room for adjustment. You tend to either end up causing RSI in your wrists or neck pain/headaches from looking down at the screen all the time. Try placing your laptop on a block so you can look straight ahead at it and get a separate keyboard so you can rest your wrists flat on the table.
Try and introduce as much movement as you can throughout the day. If you have to print a document, send it to the printer furthest away so you have to walk to get it and get outside for a quick walk at lunchtime or take the stairs instead of the lift.
Consider an app for star watching at night to make you look up and counteract “technology stoop”!
It is incredibly important to retain good posture to stave off long term issues as your body grows old so that you can continue to do all the things that you enjoy doing for as long as you can.