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Sitting at your desk does not have to be a pain in the neck

Do you feel creaky, achy, and stiff by the end of the workday?

Working at a desk is a common cause of back and neck pain, often because you are sitting at your workstation rather than the other way around. For instance, many people take a computer monitor that is too far away, too low, too high, too small or too dim. This compromises good posture. The average human head weighs almost 12 pounds (5.4 kilograms) – the equivalent of a bowling ball! When your neck is down to 45 degrees, your head exerts nearly 50 pounds (23 kilograms) of force on your neck.

To alleviate this stress, redesign your workspace to encourage well-aligned posture. There are many ways to improve the ergonomics-efficiency and comfort levels of a typical workstation. Start by answering these questions.

  • Raise or lower the monitor or your chair so you can see it well without straining?
    • Raise or lower the monitor or your chair.
    • Move the monitor closer or farther away so that you can easily read the screen.
    • Increase the font size you use.
  • Lowering your desk height or raising your chair so that your forearms are
  • Keep your mouse nearby, and regularly change it from one side to the other
  • Use a headset if you talk on the phone frequently.
  • Find shortcut keys you can use while typing.
  • Use a document holder so that you do not have to look down frequently.
  • Does your chair allow you to maintain the normal curves in your spin
    • Raise or lower your chair so you're not sitting straight up at a 90-degree angle, but rather with a slightly reclined posture of 100 to 110 degrees. [19659018
      • Consider using a stool if you've been seated in the ground.
      • Maintain a couple of inches between the back of your knees and the chair.
    • Experiments
  • Experiments
    • Experiments

      Try these suggestions for a good environment and posture.

      1. Set a timer and get up every 30 minutes. Take a walking meeting, or exercise during a conference call, or hand-deliver a message when you would normally email it.
      2. Ask a colleague to take a picture of you at your workstation and check to see if it supports well- aligned posture (eyes looking straight, neck not bent, forearms parallel to the floor, low back in its natural curve). If not, talk to your human resources contact for help if needed.
      3. Follow the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, give your eyes a 20-second break by focusing on something at least 20 feet away.
      4. Create a standing workstation!

      Updated: 2016-12-17

      Publication Date: 2016-12- 17

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