Do You Have Pain Sitting At Work?

We’re all aware of how important a good desk set-up is. Your workstation needs to be set up to encourage a well-aligned posture. Now with a lot of us continuing to be working from home more long term, your home set-up is just as important. We commonly see people straining their neck to look at a computer monitor that is too far away, too low or too high. Sitting for prolonged periods of time increases your risk of developing lower back or neck pain.

In this blog we will summarise what your workstation should look like, what chair you should be sitting on, and what healthy working habits you should adopt as part of your working day.

What sort of chair should I be sitting on?

  • No arm rests. This allows you to sit further under the table and stops you from propping your arms on the arm rests which can cause slouching
  • Good lumbar support which is adjustable so its sits in just the right spot for your lower back
  • Back support for your upper back so that you can lean back into it to rest your back muscles
  • Adjustable seat which can be tilted slightly, so that your hips are slightly higher than your knees
  • Adjustable height of the chair so that you can make sure your feet are comfortably flat on the floor. You may need a foot stool if your desk or table is too high.

Sitting desk set-up

  1. Top of the monitor should be at eye level
  2. Feet flat on the floor
  3. Thighs parallel to the floor with knee and hip bend between 90-120 degrees
  4. Relaxed shoulders with elbows bent at 90 degrees and then forearms down at a 30 degree angle. Wrists in a neutral position

How about standing desks?

Standing desks are a great way to ensure you don’t spend the whole day sitting down. However, what people don’t realise is that standing for long periods of time is also not beneficial. When standing, your heart has to work harder to pump the blood around the body, as the muscle pumps of the calf muscles are not activated when standing still. When we begin to fatigue with standing, we tend to lean to one side which can affect your hips or knees. Therefore, we want a good balance of both sitting and standing. We recommend sitting for 40 minutes, then standing for 20 minutes. Alternate in this pattern every hour.

Standing desk set-up

  1. Top of the monitor should be at eye level
  2. Elbows bent at 90 degrees and then down at a 30 degree angle
  3. Head, neck and torso are in line
  4. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart
  5. Weight should be distributed evenly across both legs

Healthy Working Habits!

While it’s important to have your desk set-up correct, it’s just as important to have healthy working habits. Sitting or standing in front of a screen non-stop all day is not good for you. Here are some health working habits for you:

  • Get up every hour. Either go for a short walk down the hallway or stand up for a minute before sitting back down.
  • Regular stretching of your neck, back, shoulders and wrists
  • Ensure your room has adequate lighting to avoid straining your eyes
  • Look away from the computer every 30mins. Look out the window for 20-30 seconds to give your eyes a rest from staring at a screen all day
  • Maintain regular physical activity. You should be aiming for at least 30 mins of exercise per day.
  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep each night. Aim for 8 hours.

If you have any other questions about how to best optimise your work station, let us know. If you are suffering from neck or lower back pain from a poor desk setup or too much sitting, give us a call to make an appointment. In addition to physiotherapy, we also offer remedial massage to help relieve your muscle tension and help with your pain. Our number is 9875 3760 or you can email info@wphphysio.com.au.

If you need physical therapy to relieve
your pain, and would like some more
information, feel free to contact us!

Give us a call on (02) 9875 3760 or email
info@wphphysio.com.au. We would
be more than happy to help you.