Is work a headache? Here’s how to get your office posture right to avoid the daily strain
Did you just feel yourself sit up straighter in your chair as you opened this article? It’s no secret that poor desk posture is a daily battle for many of us. Lower back pain, sore wrists, a tight neck and dull headaches are the most common giveaways that your office ergonomics are amiss.
In this busy, fast-paced city that we live in it’s easy to get caught deep in your emails or on never-ending conference calls at your desk. Read on to find out how you can squeeze some simple good habits into your day. It’ll reduce your discomfort and keep you and your body in prime condition. After all, who has time to be unwell?
1. Get The Basics Right
Whether ergonomics is new to you or you’ve heard it all before – there’s no escaping the importance of ensuring your desk set-up is right for you. Here’s a simple checklist you can use to arrange yourself in the best position for a day at the desk:
- Sit as far back in the chair. Adjust your seat height so your feet are flat on the floor (use a footstool if you need).
- Ensure your knees are in line with, equal to or lower than your hips.
- Don’t cross your legs!
- Computer Screen:
- Centre your screen and check that the top is not more than 5cm above your eye level. Your neck should feel relaxed.
- Adjust your screen so your neck is in a neutral position.
- Check for glare – you can reduce it by adjusting your desk position (if possible) or lowering blinds/curtains.
- Place your keyboard in a centred position in front of you – don’t stretch to reach it.
- Make sure your keyboard is flat and not raised at the top to reduce wrist strain.
- If you use a laptop – get an external keyboard and mouse ASAP.
- Keep it on the same surface as your keyboard. Use a mouse pad with wrist support if you are suffering some discomfort.
- Ensure it is within easy reach – don’t stretch.
- Desk Telephone:
- Place your telephone within easy reach.
- Use a headset or speaker phone for longer calls.
2. Make Good Break Habits
In theory, it sounds easy to take a break but we all know that in practice it can be hard to get away from your desk during the work day. Here’s a few examples of how to start making good break habits in the office:
- Take a 2 minute break every 20-30 minutes. This can be as simple as getting a glass of water, visiting the bathroom, or walking to the printer to collect a document. Just get up and stretch your legs.
- Set a timer/reminder every hour. When the reminder goes off, change tasks from your desk work: walk to another department to discuss a work matter instead of telephoning a colleague, for example.
- Give your eyes a break! Eye fatigue can cause headaches and blurry vision. To avoid it, look away from your monitor to something in the distance. Or cover your eyes with your palms for 10 seconds.
3. Be Mobile
Here’s the biggest tip of all – get mobile when you can to counteract the still, sedentary activity that your body endures day after day at your desk. Whether it’s heading outdoors for a stroll, joining a local fitness class or meeting up with a friend – use your lunch break as an opportunity to do anything but sit on your behind.
At Sydney Spine and Sports Clinic, we put you first. We believe in offering chiropractic care that enables you to make informed and educated choices about your health. If you are suffering pain and would like to talk to us about how we can help you get mobile and active again – get in touch right here.