How to sit at a desk to reduce back ache.
- General thoughts on desk posture.
- Chair types for desk work.
- Foot placement and footrests.
- Screen placement and height.
- Keyboard placement.
- Mouse placement.
- The benefits of regular breaks.
General thoughts on desk posture.
If the body is in a poor position, excess strain can be placed on various areas. Over time this can lead to tension, pain and injury. Therefore one should aim to use chairs that can change height, back position and tilt. Knees should be slightly lower than hips and regular breaks should be taken.
Does an adjustable chair help?
Repetitive strain injuries (where repeated strain on the same body areas leads to injury) can be reduced by using an adjustable chair. Here, instead of all loading being taken by the unfortunate desk worker, some of the force is taken by the chair. You should try to keep your elbows by your side with the elbows flexed to 90 degrees forming an ‘L’ shape
Where should you place your feet?
Feet should be rested on the floor. If the floor is too far for your feet to reach, a footrest can be used. This allows your feet to rest at a level that is more comfortable.
Try not to cross your legs as this can lead to further problems.
Where should the screen be placed?
As suspected the screen should be directly in front of you. It should be roughly an arms length away.
Importantly the top of the screen should be at eye level. If the screen is too high or too low, it will lead to poor neck posture. Therefore, excess strain will be placed on certain tissues.
Where should the keyboard be placed?
The keyboard should be placed in front of you. An ‘L’ shape should be formed at the elbow joint by it’s 90 degree flexion. Elbows should be kept by your sides. To avoid excess strain through the wrists, try to keep them straight and at the same height as the keyboard.
Where should the mouse be placed?
To reduce loading on the back, you don’t want to lean forward. Therefore, the mouse should be placed as close to you as possible.
A mouse mat with a wrist support may be beneficial as they help keep the wrists straight and reduce strain.
So now your posture is sorted, you can sit there for hours… right?
Despite a good desk posture, the same position for long periods can still lead to strain. Frequent short breaks are much better for the back than fewer long ones. This is because the overused muscles have a chance to relax whilst others take the strain.
A study conducted in 2018 containing 528 office workers found that those with the most severe pain, were those not taking breaks.
A thank you note…
Finally, Pinnacle Posture thanks you for reading this blog post. We hoped you enjoyed it. Importantly, please share it via social media and direct it to those that it may help. After all, a reduction in pain, a chance to continue in a sport or even an eased concern can change someone’s world.