By: Brooke Burch, PT, DPT
Sitting at a desk for an extended period of time can lead to pain and discomfort in your low back, neck, and/or shoulders. Improving the ergonomics of your workstation can help reduce muscle tightness and pain associated with sitting for long periods of time. Here are three ways to easily adjust your workspace and improve your comfort at work.
1. Chair. It’s best to have an adjustable chair that can fit your specific needs. Your feet should be flat on the floor with your thighs parallel to the floor. Your arms should rest at 90° comfortably on the arm rests without tension through your shoulders. If unable to do both due to your height, a foot rest or a stack of books can be placed under your feet. You can also adjust the back height so that the curve of your back fits comfortably into the curve of the chair. Keep 2-4 inches between your knees and the chair.
2. Monitor. Keep ~20-28 inches between your eyes and the computer monitor, approximately an arm’s length away. The top of the monitor should be at or just below eye level. Tilt the monitor 10-20° to help prevent glare.
3. Take a break! Take a standing break every 30 minutes for 1-2 minutes. Shift your view from your screen to something in the background or close your eyes for 5 seconds periodically in order to allow your eyes to relax.
Completing these 3 simple adjustments to your workspace can help reduce risk of injury and improve muscle tightness. Remember to stay active outside of work hours when you can in order to maintain cardiovascular health and muscle strength.