The increase in technology in our world means that many of us find ourselves at “desk jobs” where we spend a majority of the day sitting. Prolonged sitting, especially in poor alignment, can influence a host of musculoskeletal issues from carpal tunnel syndrome to neck and back pain. The best way to prevent these issues is to change positions frequently, avoiding prolonged time in any one position. However, for those of us who have to sit at a computer, here are some tips, adapted from The Mayo Clinic1, to promote the best seated posture. Maintaining good posture will decrease the risk of stress on the musculoskeletal system, thereby decreasing the risk or pain and injury.
- Chair: The chair should be a height that allows your feet to rest on the floor with your knees and your hips at about 90 degree angles. Your buttocks should be back against the backrest, and the chair should have lumbar cushioning to provide support to the curve in your lower back. The desk should be close enough that you can maintain your ears over your shoulders over your hips, rather than leaning forward to reach the desk.
- Keyboard: The height of the keyboard should be at or slightly below the level of your elbows when your elbows are at your sides. You wrists should be maintained in a neutral position. The same is true for the computer mouse. Avoid using the mouse in a position that requires reaching with your elbow away from your side.
- Monitor: The computer monitor should be maintained about an arm’s length away from your head with the top of the screen at or slightly below eye level. The screen should also be directly in front of your body, rather than off to one side. Using the computer off to one side with your neck or body in a prolonged position of rotation could promote musculoskeletal pain.
How can CPRS Help?
If you have any questions regarding the setup of your office space, please contact your local CPRS branch. We, as physical therapists, are trained in ergonomics and would be happy to provide advice to ensure that your work space is safe for prolonged use and arranged to meet your specific needs. Additionally, we have helped countless people alleviate their pain caused by stressful working positions, and we would be delighted to do the same for you.
For more information about our Occupational Health Services, Click Here.
(The Mayo Clinic Staff (April 20, 2016). Office ergonomics: Your how-to guide. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/office-ergonomics/art-20046169)
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