Here at Mount Pleasant Spine Center the discussion regarding proper posture and ergonomics comes up quite frequently. More and more of our patients are transitioning to jobs that require them to work on a computer and, therefore, the discussion regarding proper posture and computer ergonomics is an important one. Whether it is at home or in an office, most people have some type of work station set up while going about their daily routine. In our Mount Pleasant chiropractic office we are constantly seeing work and stress related injuries associated with spending too much time, in a not ideal posture, while working on the computer. However, the good news is that there are some simple solutions to improve posture and decrease muscle strain while doing computer and desk work.
Chair Height – You should be able to fit a fist between your chair and knee and be able to slide a flat hand between the bottom of your thigh and the chair seat. If your seat is too high you will tend to tuck your feet back and cross them which increases the stress on your joints. You may have to work around the height of the desk first as you may not be able to adjust it. If you need to, make your chair height taller in order to reach the keyboard comfortably, and consider using a small box under your feet for support so they are not ‘dangling’ off the chair. Also, if it is an option for you, we have seen a lot of patient’s experience positive results when transitioning to a standing desk.
Feet – There are a few options here. You can either have your feet rest comfortably on the ground or use a binder to raise your feet to a 15-25 degree angle. Having an increased angle will help to relax the muscles of the lower back.
Back Rest – The back of the chair usually has a small lumbar support on it and this is exactly where the support should rest. Remember your spine is made up of curves and we want to use the back rest to support these curves. Having the support too high can cause us to slouch with our lower back. Having the support too low increases strain on your upper back and neck
Arm Rest – The arm rests are meant to take the stress off your shoulders and neck. Set them at a height that is comfortable for you when your shoulders are relaxed. Having them too high will cause you to shrug your shoulders, creating trigger points and stiff muscles.
Monitor Height – The top of the monitor should be at or below eye level. This will keep you from craning your neck. Remember you want your eyes to be able to look directly at the screen with you neck in a ‘neutral’ position- you do not want to flex or extend your neck in order to see the screen.
For any questions, or to make an appointment, call our Mount Pleasant Office at 843-416-8012.