Almost half of all Australians work at a desk. Covid-19 saw many of us working from home at “make-do” workstations. In our office, we saw a lot of people who had had a recurrence or new spinal pain associated with working at desks or kitchen tables that were not designed for these purposes. Now that some of us are returning to our offices in some form, let us review how to look after your spine in your office, whether this is at home still or in your employers’ office.
Having your computer set up optimally and watching your seated position can really help to improve your comfort both at the office and in your personal time. Let us look at things you can do to improve your posture whilst at your desk.
This is when you improve the design of products to suit the people using them. Things like your height, weight, field of vision etc can change how you need to have work equipment set up to maximise your spinal health. For example, if you use a laptop computer at your desk, it can affect your posture and how you use your body. Laptops often do not have the screen, keyboard, or mouse in the best position for most people. This could result in neck, low back or arm, wrist, or hand pain. If you use a separate mouse and keyboard, you can use something to elevate the screen to your eye level, which can reduce the chances of getting neck pain or eye strain. Using a mouse and separate keyboard will allow you the relieve strain on your neck and upper limb by positioning the mouse better.
A well-designed chair will help your posture and spinal health. It is best to sit on the chair with your feet flat on the floor or use a footrest to relieve the pressure on your lower limbs. Have your arms relaxed by your side (keep your wrist straight when using your mouse and elbows at 90-110 degrees when you are typing), hold your posture relaxed and tall.
Standing desks are helpful for most people who need to work at a desk. It may reduce lower back strain. When you are standing, keep your posture upright and relaxed. Place a footrest underneath the desk to prevent your hips from tilting, and continually change each foot resting on it.
Take A Break For A Walk
Your spine’s health will be improved by trying to take mini breaks about every 30 minutes through the day. Bodies were designed to move, and your spinal health may be affected by sitting too long. Take the opportunity during your lunch break or after work to get some fresh air and move about. Walking is good for your spinal health and general wellbeing.
If you have any questions or would like more advice about working in an office, our Chiropractors at Clayfield Chiropractic are happy to advise. Please contact our office on 3862 2611 to ask about how to implement these suggestions and if they are appropriate for you.
Cheyne graduated from Sydney College of Chiropractic and Osteopathy in 1984. She also has postgraduate qualifications in paediatric chiropractic care. Before joining Clayfield Chiropractic Clinic in 1993, Cheyne enjoyed seven years in a Sydney based practice. Cheyne has 5 children and 3 grandchildren.