Ergonomic Desk Setup

Ergonomic Desk Setup

Are you one of the many Australians that are working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic? If so, here are a few pointers from Osteopath Dr. Stephanie Ryan to make sure your workstation is set up ergonomically.

Desk workers can spend over 8 hours of the day sitting, and our bodies just weren’t made for this. We were hunters and gatherers, always on the move for survival. Fast forward a few centuries and here we are, constantly suffering from low back pain, neck pain and headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries.

The good news is that for a lot of us working from home our overall sitting time has reduced as we aren’t spending hours in the car or on public transport; the bad news is, a lot of us are missing our ergonomically set up office work stations.

Don’t let neck pain, headaches or low back pain get in the way of your day and try these tips to improve your seated posture while at your desk. Do the best with what is available to you, if you don’t have a desk chair with lumbar support, try a small house cushion, or a rolled-up towel. If you don’t have an adjustable monitor screen, use a stack of books. Get creative!

Correct desk posture while working from home
Monitor

Your eyes should be level with the top 1/3 of the screen and if you don’t have an adjustable monitor, try a stack of books. If you are using a laptop and need to elevate your screen, you will have to get a separate mouse and keyboard. Your screen should be roughly arms length away, with a 10-20 degree tilt.

Head

Have your chin tucked so that ears, shoulders and hips are aligned.

Neck

If you are regularly on the phone make sure you are not craning your neck to support your phone on your shoulder. Use a headset (most headphones have a built-in mouthpiece nowadays) or have your phone of loudspeaker instead. Make sure you are sitting directly behind your monitor so that you are not having to rotate your neck to look at the monitor. This can be hard when you are using 2 screens, try to spin your chair to face the screen you are using, rather than turning your neck.

Elbows

Your elbows should be by your side, level with the top of your desk, with a 90-120 degree bend. You may need to lower or raise your chair to achieve this. Bring your keyboard and mouse close and tuck your chair in so that you aren’t having to reach out.

Wrist

Wrists should be in line with your elbows, with a minimal bend. If you suffer from RSI (repetitive stress injury) in your wrists, it may be worth investing in an ergonomic mouse or purchasing a mouse pad with wrist support. You can find these at Officeworks.

Hips

Your hips should be at a 90-120 degree angle with pressure evenly distributed on your sit bones. Knees -Knees should be at a 90-100 degree angle.

Feet

Have your feet flat on the floor (as long as knees and hips are still at 90-120 degrees). If you are short or have a high desk your feet might dangle and not reach the floor. If this is that case, you will need something under your feet to achieve this. If you don’t have a footrest you can buy these from Officeworks, otherwise try stacking some books on the floor instead.

In addition to setting up your workstation, you are going to want to stay active. With no commute time while working from home, allocate this time for exercise!

  • Try and get a walk in before or after work, or even in your lunch break. Your body will thank you for it.
  • Set an alarm on your phone to go off every 60 minutes and get up to grab a glass of water when it goes off. Not only will you be getting your recommended 8 glasses a day, but you will be getting some much-needed movement through those joints.
  • Try 10 seated spinal rotations(i) and backwards shoulder rolls(ii) every few hours to set your shoulders back and keep your spine mobile.
Osteopathy Desk Posture Spinal rotation exercise
Osteopathy Desk Posture Spinal should roll exercises

For more information, or if you need some hands-on treatment, we are open! Call Wellness on Hopetoun on 9876 1142, or book online.

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