Your Work Station Ergonomics
Joti Mall, (Hon) BSc. Life Sci, MSc. PT, RPT - Registered Physiotherapist
It is important to be mindful of the positions you hold your body in at work or home. If your work or your hobbies require you to sit in front of a computer or laptop for extended periods, it is important that you are reducing the likelihood of causing pain and stiffness in your body.
What should you look out for when sitting at your desk?
Let’s start from the bottom up:
Your feet: make sure your feet are shoulder width apart and not dangling from the edge of the chair.
TIP --> to maintain this, adjust your chair height
Your legs: you should be able to gently feel the edge of the chair along the back of the crease in your knees. Try to avoid crossing your legs or turning your knees in towards each other. Doing so can create tension in certain muscles in your legs.
TIP --> to get used to this, place a small pillow between the knees to maintain this space but do not squeeze your legs together
Your back: The back of your chair should start at your low back and come all the way up to the top of your shoulder blades. However, although it is important to keep your back supported with the backrest, it is also important to make sure you are not slouching back into the back of your chair. This can place a lot of stress on the structures in your spine.
TIP --> place a small towel behind your low back to maintain the natural curvature
Your head and neck: most people come in with neck pain because they have been sitting on a computer and looking down at their laptop all day. To maintain appropriate alignment in your neck, you want to raise your laptop or computer monitor to your eye level.
TIP --> use some books to prop up the laptop or get an adjustable computer monitor
Your hands: try to use a mouse and keypad to reduce the amount you have to crunch up your hands. Also, place a pad in front of the keyboard to prevent the amount of bend and pressure in your wrists.
TIP --> if you cannot get access to a keyboard wrist pad, use a rolled up face towel
A few things to bear in mind: if you have a swivel chair, turn your whole body towards things instead of twisting and turning to get them. Also, stand up and take breaks! Stretch, get some water or take a quick walk. Getting your work and tasks done is really important but being proactive about your positioning and body mechanics is equally important!
If you have any questions about maintaining appropriate body mechanics at work or home, book a free consultation with me (Joti), your physiotherapist here at Wellness for the Body.