When we think of pain resulting from work, we usually think of jobs that require heavy lifting, standing for hours, and similar physically demanding situations. Desk jobs sound pretty “cushy” in comparison.
Believe it or not, a 9-to-5 desk job can cause strain on your legs, elbows, wrists, back or neck. When you spend a good deal of your life at a desk, pain can be an unfortunate outgrowth of the way you sit. Fortunately, it could be that a simple adjustment of your keyboard, chair, or computer monitor could help alleviate the pain and prevent future pain from occurring.
To help avoid workplace pain at your desk, we turn to the study of ergonomics, or the relationship between workers and their equipment. These quick ergonomic tips should help you work more comfortably for longer periods of time:
- Place your computer monitor at arm’s length from your body to prevent neck strain.
- The top of the monitor should be at or slightly below eye level.
- Keep your head up, shoulders back, and be sure not to lean forward.
- Adjust your chair to the proper height. The proper position for correct posture is to have your feet flat on the floor and your knees at a 90 degree angle. Your knees should not be higher than your hips. If your feet are not flat, your chair is too high. If your feet are tucked under the chair casters, your chair is too low.
- Make sure there is 2 to 3 inches of space between the back of your knees and the edge of your seat.
- Use a chair with good lower back (lumbar) support for the normal curve in your back. For additional support you can use a lumbar roll, small pillow or a rolled up towel.
- Hold your wrists in a neutral position when typing. Adjust the pegs of your keyboard until your wrists lay in a flat position and are not extended. Use wrist rests for extra support.
Shoulders and Elbows:
- Keep your elbows relaxed and at a 90 degree angle.
- Make sure your keyboard is within comfortable reach so that it is not too far or too close, causing an uncomfortable strain.
- Keep your mouse close to the keyboard so you don’t have to reach too far off to the side when you need to access it.
Having a desk job should not cause undue discomfort. By making a few simple adjustments with these quick tips, you should be able to reduce unnecessary strain and help prevent pain from occurring in the future.