Do you have back pain or would like to prevent from ever feeling any?
Are you desk bound all day long?
If you’re sitting at a desk all day, then you obviously need to be doing it PROPERLY! You may not realize it now, but after YEARS of sitting at your desk with poor posture you’ll more than likely suffer some health issues along the way. Poor posture has been linked to neck pain, headaches, back pain, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, reduced energy, increased stress and even premature death.
The first thing I do with my patients when they’re in my office is request a photo of their workstation so we can modify things properly to meet their needs. DO NOT adjust to your desk, ADJUST your desk to YOU!
1. Check Your MOUSE Placement To Prevent Back, Neck & Shoulder Pain
Initially, everyone is always concerned about their computer screen placement (which we’ll get to next), but the placement of your mouse is just as important. I often find people are reaching too far for their mouses. ENSURE you’re elbow is by your side while you’re using your mouse, this will place less strain on your shoulder joint versus reaching far out in front of you. Also, make sure that the mouse is directly in front of you, not off to the right or left.
2. Ensure Your COMPUTER SCREEN is at Eye Level To Avoid Neck and Middle Back Pain
Your computer screen should be at eye level. It’s super easy to place a few books underneath your monitor to make sure it’s at the proper height. Also, make sure you’re monitor is DIRECTLY in front of you (unless you have multiple monitors). I once had a patient with left sided neck pain for years and after seeing that his computer was all the way to the left end of his desk, it all made sense! He had been looking to the left all day, for 10 years!
3. Invest in a STANDING DESK Or LAPTOP STAND to Prevent Back Pain
You certainly do not need to invest thousands of dollars into a fancy standing desk! Simply head to Ikea and purchase a desk topper that lifts your computer up so you can turn it into a standing/seated desk instantly. If you’re looking for something a little more high tech, we like the Vivo Black Adjustable Standing Desk on Amazon (pictured above).
I don’t advise you to solely stand nor sit the entire day. Variety is key! It’s best to sit in the morning when you are fresh and your back muscles have rested the previous night and then stand after lunch in the afternoon as your back muscles begin to fatigue.
An article published by Harvard Health, states that ‘… studies show that after a meal, blood sugar levels return to normal faster on days a person spends more time standing. And standing, rather than sitting, may reduce the risk of shoulder and back pain.’
4. Sit Properly In Your CHAIR or You May Be In For Some Serious Neck Pain, Headaches and Back Pain
If you’re seated at a desk for part of the day, you MUST be conscious of your posture in your chair. Studies show ‘that having a supportive chair reduces musculoskeletal symptoms among workers who are required to sit for prolonged periods of time.’
All too often I find patients sitting on the edge of their chair, slumped over their keyboard. Invest in great, ergonomic friendly chair, or even better yet, an exercise ball to sit on.
Sit with your butt all the way back in your chair, with your chair pushed in so you’re elbows are at your side over your keyboard. The keyboard should be located so you are not reaching out, up or down to type. Use a small foot stool to prop up your feet, especially if your feet are not flat on the floor.
Photo Credit: https://www.thehumansolution.com/ergonomic-office-desk-chair-and-keyboard-height-calculator/
5. Drink Water, Move Around & STRETCH to Prevent Pain From Even Arising
This is a no brainer! Movement is the key to a healthy body, so set an alarm on your computer or phone every hour and get up and stretch! Also, drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day, which will not just hydrate you, it will force you to go to the bathroom often (which will get you out of your chair and moving around)!
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Thanks so much for reading! Here’s to better posture and better health!
Dr. Nichole 🙂