Discomfort of Working at a Desk

Discomfort of Working at a Desk

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Research shows that 85% of adults will experience at least one debilitating episode of low back pain during their lifetime. In addition, many other health related problems stem from having a poorly functioning spine.  

The causes of these problems are often lifestyle related and preventable. One example is the occupational stress related to sedentary desk work. We no longer lead the ‘hunter- gatherer’ lifestyle of our ancestors. Increasing reliance on computers means more and more people spend most of their day physically inactive. This is made worse if the workstation setup does not allow for proper posture.  

Good ergonomics is essential for the office-bound worker. Failure to address office ergonomics can lead to a range of problems including chronic neck and back pain, repetitive strain injuries, numbness in the arm and hands and osteoarthritis.  

Having regular chiropractic adjustments and daily exercise can help prevent work-related health problems but addressing posture in the workplace is essential. Key elements include: 

  • A good quality ergonomic chair that helps maintain the forward curve (lordosis) of the lower back - this can also be achieved by placing a small pillow in the sway of the back. The chair should also allow you to lean back without the low back losing the forward curve.  
  • The use of hands-free phone headsets to avoid ‘crooking’ the phone between the head and shoulder.  
  • Knees should be positioned so they are slightly lower than the hips.  
  • Feet should be comfortably flat on the floor or a suitable footrest.  
  • An ergonomic keyboard and mouse that can be easily reached with elbows at 90 degrees.  
  • Typing material positioned at computer screen height and moved from side to side on a regular basis. 
  • Shoulders should be relaxed without slouching.  
  • The top of the monitor should be in line with your eyes when sitting upright.  
  • Set the monitor settings so it is easy to read, without being too bright.  
  • Avoid sitting too close to air conditioning vents.  
  • It is ideal if you can see your screen and also out of a window - re-focusing on objects far away periodically can reduce eyestrain.  
  • Swivel chairs prevent excessive twisting of the spine  
  • Swiss ball/exercise balls are often useful for sitting because they allow greater movement of the spine while sitting. They have some limitations in that they do not swivel and tend to move around when you are not sitting on them. Special air-filled mats placed on office seats are often useful. 
  • Being able to touch type is an advantage because it reduces the amount of forward bending in the neck.  
  • No matter how well the ergonomic set up of your office, the body is designed to move. It is important to regularly change your posture and move about at least every 30 minutes.  
Dr. Steve Hodal is committed to providing high-quality, individualized chiropractic care in a comfortable and relaxed environment. He is dedicated to providing evidence-based treatments that are tailored to each patient’s individual needs, allowing them to achieve optimal health and wellbeing. Contact us to know more about this disorder or Book Online.