Back and neck pain are never fun, especially when they inhibit your ability to work. We’ve all experienced those little aches and pains from sitting at a desk all day, straining to see our computer screens and reaching up to rub your neck every few minutes. The struggle is real.
Are you taking any actions to help improve your posture?
We’ve compiled this list of seven ways to improve your posture in the workplace.
The screen at Eye Level
Keep your computer screens at eye level. Don’t sit too far above or below your computer screens, or this could cause you to unnecessarily strain your neck by looking up or down at your screen(s). Straining your neck in this way can cause the structure of your head and neck placement to shift, resulting in your head putting more weight on your neck than if it was in a proper position.
If you chair won’t lower enough to allow you to be at eye level with your screens, try getting a monitor stand to raise them up off your desk.
Keep Feet on Floor
Make sure your feet are flat on the floor with your knees bent at a right angle. This helps keep your body weight distributed evenly across your hips. If you can’t reach the floor, try using a footrest. And if you wear heels into work, take them off when you’re at your desk.
Crossing your legs can reduce the blood flow to them and cause a strain in your hip and back muscles.
Object Placement on Desk
Keep all of your frequently used objects within reach – mouse, keyboard, water bottle, hand sanitizer, sticky notes, pen and paper, stapler, etc. This will prevent you straining your muscles to reach them. Repeated actions of reaching and twisting can lead to joint pain.
Arms at Right Angle
You should be seated high enough that your arms are at a right angle on your desk when typing and using your mouse. This will keep you from hunching your shoulders and prevent neck and shoulder pain.
Also, as aforementioned, be sure to keep your mouse and keyboard close enough that you aren’t straining to use them.
Invest In A Proper Chair
The chair that you sit in all day every day is going to make or break your posture at work. The kicker here is that everyone is different in what they find comfortable and what ergonomic structures are the best for their support. So you may need to try a couple different options out.
The two most important things to keep in mind when looking for a good office chair are lumbar support and adjustability. Lumbar support is the support for the lower back. This is important for preventing lower back pain – which can become debilitating. Adjustability in the height and armrest will allow you to adjust to your comfort level and keep your eyes at screen level. If you’re resting your arms on the arm rest, keeping those low enough that your shoulders aren’t hunched will help too.
Use a Headset For Phones
If you are on the phone a lot, especially while simultaneously working on your computer, then it would be wise to invest in a headset. Holding a phone between your ear and shoulder day after day is just going to cause a constant ache in your neck.
A headset will allow you to have your hands free and prevent that aches associated with holding a phone improperly.
Exercises & Stretching
There are several exercises and stretches you can do in the workplace each day to help improve your posture:
- Shoulder rolls
- Stretching neck from side to side
- Side twists
- Wrist circles
- Arm over head stretches
- Getting up and moving every hour
It’s important to get up and move after sitting for a long period of time. Make it a goal to move for a minute or two every hour when you’re at work.
Strength training and exercise outside of work will also help you to maintain better posture when you are at work.
If you are trying all of these items and still experience chronic pain in your joints, back or neck, you may want to consider consulting an orthopedic surgeon like those at Summit Orthopaedics. Your orthopedic surgeon can suggest non-operative methods to improving your pain, as well as perform any surgeries if necessary.