By Tulsa Bone & Joint Physical Therapy Staff
Proper workplace posture is key to decreasing aches and pain throughout the neck, shoulders and back. So, where do you start when making your workspace ergonomic for yourself?
First, let’s discuss how poor posture can contribute to pain symptoms. With static posture, a person is more prone to slouching – especially with prolonged periods of time at a computer or on the phone. As a person slouches, they decrease spinal alignment. This contributes to decreased flexibility of the spine and decreased hydration to discs due to shearing forces within the spine. Also, the overuse of these supporting muscles causes tightness which can lead to headaches.
Now you might be wondering, what steps can I take in order to prevent poor posture while working from home or in the office?
The main focus will be getting in a neutral alignment:
- Sit back in the chair with upright posture
- Feet flat on the floor (do not cross at the ankles or at the knees)
- Adjust the seat so the knees are slightly higher than the hips
- Tilt the seat so the hips are slightly rotated forward for a neutral spine
- Arms will be at 90 degrees at the elbow, wrists straight, hands at elbow level
- Computer screen at eye level
- Maintain mouse, phone, printer within close proximity to minimize reaching
For frequent use of the phone:
- Utilize speaker feature or a headset to decrease cradling between head and shoulder
Finally, make sure to take breaks throughout the work day. You can set a reminder to either perform stretching at the work space or standing/walking breaks to reduce slouching positions.