Posture in the office

If you are primarily desk-bound in your work, correct posture and alignment is essential to prevent work related pain and injuries. Most of us get a little lazy with our posture at some point. You can expect some serious health problems, aches and pains if you adopt a poor sitting position for long periods of time, day in and day out.

Poor sitting posture can lead to:

  • Headaches
  • Lower back pain
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Interscapular and thoracic pain and stiffness
  • Shoulder pain and muscular tension
  • Wrist, forearm and elbow pain
  • Lumbar disc bulging and irritation

Most people don’t even know that they have a problematic posture. Those who admit to having a poor posture often don’t know what to do about it. Hence education is crucial. Correct desk and computer setup is simple and effective to avoid these potentially disabling problems.

One other point is that many people who know that they have a poor posture (and know what to do) get lazy. It’s easy to slouch or get caught up in work, sitting for hours on end. There people may even set regular reminders to stand up and stretch, but simply snooze the alarms and continue working. Just remember, it is easier to keep bigger problems away than to rid yourself of them later. Stand up regularly, make a cup of tea, take a short stroll and stretch.

A good sitting posture:

  • Chair height should be so that your upper legs are parallel to floor (or knees slightly lower than your hips).
  • Both feet should be flat on the floor.
  • Push your hips into the back of the chair.
  • Ensure your chair supports your upper and lower back (use support cushions if required).
  • Relax your forearms on the table to keep weight off your shoulders. Use armrests on your chair if required.
  • Pull up close to your keyboard, placing it directly in front of you. Adjust your keyboard tilt to achieve a straight wrist position.
  • Your screen should be directly in front of you.
  • The top of your screen should be little above your seated eye level, at least an arm’s length away. Use a monitor stand if required.
  • If text is too small at this distance, use your computer’s settings to increase display resolution or magnification (as opposed to moving the screen close to your face).
  • Screen (and your desk) should be positioned to reduce glare from windows and other ligh sources. Use curtains or blinds if required.
  • Keep your telephone within easy reach. Use a headset if you are regularly on the phone.
  • Take 1-2 minute short breaks away from your desk every 30 minutes to stretch. Take longer breaks or change tasks every hour. Get away from your computer during lunch break.
  • Give your eyes a rest. Look away in the distance during your short breaks.

Our physiotherapists are well trained and experienced in workstation setup education, postural corrective exercises and manual therapy to treat problems that arise from poor office habits. If you are feeling sore, stiff or tired at work, come see us before things get worse.

Quick tip

Don’t just stand, move around. If you can walk around then do it. Every little helps.


Time and health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted.

~ Denis Waitley

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