With summer over, many of us are getting back to work and school routines, which may mean long hours sitting behind a desk. While there is no strong science behind prevention strategies, Dr. Carol Hartigan, a physiatrist (medical expert in physical medicine and rehabilitation) at NEBH has some tips to help keep you comfortable while at your desk.
- Be sure you have a chair that fits you well, and avoid chairs that are too big or too small. Optimally the length of the chair from front to back should allow your knees to bend at a 90° angle. The height of your chair should be adjustable, and there should be a back rest and adjustable armrests. A rolling chair is best.
- Desktop computers are generally more ergonomically favorable than laptop computers.
- Your computer should be at eye level. Your monitor should be directly in front of your face, not off to one side or the other.
- Your keyboard should be set so that your shoulders are in a relaxed position and the elbow is bent about 90°. To ensure the proper position, your keyboard may need to be dropped onto a pullout, sliding tray.
- Although things get busy throughout the day, you should try to take a stretching and walking break at least every 30 minutes.
Helpful exercises can be done while you are sitting in your chair at work:
- Pressing your back up against the back support
- Bending at the waist so your chest moves towards your knees
- Twisting your back in both directions
- Rolling your shoulders from front to back 5 to 10 times
- Lifting your arms up over your head and behind the neck
If your pain continues, you should consult an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of back pain. Find a doctor now.