Osteopaths treat many people who spend much of their time sitting at a desk. Here are some tips to help you avoid aches and pains associated with your working position.
1) Make sure your hips are slightly higher than your knees, and that your knees are at a 90 degree angle when sitting. If necessary, raise or lower your chair to the correct height for you – and ask someone to look at your position if you’re unsure.
2) Chairs with lumbar support are helpful in lessening the tendency for the lower back to slump. They encourage a position that maintains the natural curve of the spine. You should sit well back in your chair to give your back the best support.
3) If your work involves reading, writing or telephone work, as well as the computer, try to avoid twisting your body to reach the sides of the desk. A swivel chair with castors will enable you to reach all your workstation without twisting.
4) Check to see whether your feet are flat on the floor when you are sitting. A foot rest might be helpful if you are short.
5) It should be possible to get your knees under the desk comfortably. If necessary, clear out the clutter under your desk to make sufficient room for you to work comfortably!
6) Your keyboard should be at horizontal forearm height when you are working. That is, elbows, wrists and fingertips should be in a straight line when typing.
7) A wrist rest may be helpful if you spend a lot of time on the keyboard. Then, you can also keep your wrists horizontal, without straining them.
8) A mouse mat that also incorporates a wrist rest may also be helpful in reducing strain on your wrist.
9) Ensure that the top the computer screen is at eye level. This should keep everything within your field of vision and so avoid strain to your neck. The screen should be at arm’s length from you. If necessary, you may need to put phone books, boxes etc under your screen to get it to the right height! This is very important.
10) Regular short work breaks looking away from the screen (lasting about 30 seconds) are very helpful. Remember to stand up and move around every 20 minutes to prevent yourself from getting stiff. If possible, break up long spells of computer work with other tasks.