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Published: May 27, 2021

Sitting at a Desk: Help Sheet

Ergonomics is the study of products and postures that help the human body to promote productivity and health. You may have heard this term used often in the workplace, because people who sit for 8 hours a day are especially prone to injury from unhealthy postures. As well as being prone to eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome, the biggest complaint from sitting all day is back pain. Incorrect sitting postures place undue strain on the spinal column, creating nerve and muscular pains. There are many things you can do to adjust your desk set up to make sure you are sitting in a healthy way. This article will tell you how to sit at work if you have back pain.

Be active at work. Although you can make your desk ergonomically correct, 1 of the main causes of back pain is muscle atrophy caused by lack of use. Get up and go to the printer, take a walk around the office or walk around the block every 30 minutes.

How to sit –

Sit in your chair so that your thighs are flat, parallel with the ground. This is the height that your chair should always be at. Keep your feet flat on the floor.

Bend your elbows until your forearms are parallel to the ground. Your desk should be slightly lower than this height so that your forearms are flat when typing. Ask a colleague to measure that height when you are sitting properly, so that you can get an exact measurement.

If you cannot adjust your desk, it is better that it be too high than too low. For a desk that is too high, adjust your chair so that your elbows are parallel to the ground. Place a foot rest under your desk so that your thighs stay parallel to the ground.

Sit close enough to the desk so that your monitor is an arm's width away from your face. With good eyesight, you should not have to lean forward at all - a bad posture for your back. Place the monitor high enough so that you do not have to move your head up or down to see the screen.

Buy a headset if you talk on the phone a lot. Craning your neck toward a phone or holding it between your chin and shoulder is extremely bad for your cervical spine and will result in neck pain or a repetitive stress injury.

Adjust your desk chair arm rests so that they lift your shoulders very slightly. You do not want your shoulders to be up too high, but a little lift can give you length in the body and extra support for your wrists.

Place your wrists so that you hold them right above the keyboard. Make sure they do not tip down or up.

Place all commonly used desk objects, such as a mouse or a stapler to the right or left within an easy arm's reach.

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