Are you sitting correctly? An ergonomics guide
I'm always telling my patients that "prevention is far better than cure!"
This is a holistic principle, and therefore one of Osteopathy too.
Injuries and pain caused by poor posture can be prevented with increased awareness of our ergonomics.
Ever since the start of the pandemic, I saw a rise in the number of patients complaining of neck/upper shoulder pain and headaches. Home office set up and work stations seemed to be the main cause. I've written this blog with the hope that it helps you to improve your set up at home and avoid or reduce the risk of developing problems.
There are some simple yet effective changes you can try to your home work environment which will take pressure off your neck, shoulders and lower back and reduce the amount of strain building up towards the evening and night.
The following shows how to best assess if your work set up is at an adequate height.
The top 1/3 of the screen is supposed to be opposite eye level. If working on a laptop, prop it up with a a stand or books to get the screen to eye level and the use of another keyboard is optimal over your laptop keyboard. It is best to have back support on your chair. Your knees need to be below the angle of your hips when you are seated. If your knees are above this level and too high, it will tighten your hip flexor muscles, placing extra pressure on your lower back. If you do not own an adjustable chair, use cushions to add support and height. Your keyboard is best placed on your desk, approximately 10-15cm for the edge of your desk. Your mouse should be directly in line with your shoulder. If you have any pages or books that you read off while you work, the optimal position is for them to be propped up on document trays, not laying flat on the desk. This will take pressure of the lower neck, upper shoulder and and its muscles. It is so important to have regular breaks, and to alternate sitting with standing as any fixed position for long is detrimental to your spine and the rest of your body.
Therefore, set an alarm for 20-30 mins to make sure you stand up and stretch, top up your glass of water etc. This helps to reset your mind and body, as well as your posture and so reduces tension and the likelihood of any muscle stiffness developing into aches and/pain.
I am trained in ergonomic assessment and can assess a range of parameters related to your work environment to identify if they may be playing a role in any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing. These are beneficial anyone has is sedentary for long periods (such as drivers, musicians etc), or anyone that works from home or in the office. If you've tried the above tips and are still not sure you're doing the right thing, just simply send us a photograph of your sitting posture (from the side) or arrange for a video call for an expert ergonomics assessment. I can advise you accordingly to help improve your posture and prevent any problems you may experience.
Get an individual assessment tailored to your size, posture and desk set up to prevent future problems arising sooner than later.
There you have it folks. I hope that was helpful!
Stay happy and healthy 😊.
Osteopaths are healthcare professionals and therefore our role is to promote health and wellbeing. If you have any further questions or would like to know if or how seeing an Osteopath could help you, please don't hesitate to get in touch. I'm here to help!
ONLINE consultation, face-to-face also available.
Registered Osteopath & Fitness coach
Sports massage practitioner
My OsteoPATH to Wellness
Berrylands, Surbiton, Kingston