We know that one of the most common causes of neck and back pain is bad posture and here at the House Clinics, our team of chiropractors and physiotherapists treat many people who suffer from these symptoms.
Most of us know that poor posture contributes to back and neck pain, and usually the advice is to sit up straight at your desk. But this really is oversimplifying it, there is a lot more you can do to beat back and neck pain. The good news is that you dont need an expert to come in and assess your workstation, follow these tips and tricks to sort out your posture at work and you will be on the right track.
First of all before you sit down take a second to adjust your chair, especially if you share your workstation with others. Adjust the chair so your feet are flat on the floor (or on a footrest) and there should be a downward slope from your hips to your knees to reduce the strain on your back. Many people have their chairs too low, and the bucket seat type position is much harder on your back. Next thing to check is the height of your computer screen, ideally your eyes should be level with the top border of the screen, so if you dont have an adjustable stand just wedge some books underneath.
It almost goes without saying that your chair should fit underneath the desk, however many chairs dont have adjustable arm rests which sometimes prevents this. Wherever possible this needs to be avoided as you will end up leaning much further forwards to reach your equipment. If needed you can raise your desk on wooden blocks or ask for a chair with arm rests you can lower. The next thing to do is sit back, your buttock and shoulder blades should rest against the back of the chair and dont be afraid to bring the backrest forwards if you have it tilted quite far back.
Having raised your chair slightly to get that downward angle from hips to knees you might already be sitting high enough to pass the next test. Your forearms should be flat and elbows level with the desk, if not you will find that you hitch your shoulders up to type and use the keyboard. This is a very common cause of neck and shoulder tension.
Another often quoted rule of healthy posture is to take regular breaks, and although this may affect productivity it really is essential. The reality is that sitting at a desk often does not agree with our spines and the best thing we can do is give it a little break throughout the day. Try to get up and move around (or at least adjust your sitting position) every 30-40 minutes. Take a break, walk around and stretch and get a drink.
Having sorted out your posture while working there is one other aspect of this that can undo all of your hard work. So many people these days are working on the move, checking emails and doing work on your laptop, tablet or mobile phone. The problem with this is that it becomes very easy to forget about good posture as you may be out of your work environment and checking emails on the train for example. And because the devices are usually smaller in size and without accompanying mouse or keyboard it is very easy to hunch over the screen and undo all your hard work. So whether on a desktop computer or a tablet computer, be sure to use these tips to protect yourself from back pain.