The workplace is where a lot of us spend most of our lives. Below are a few common issues we come across. It is not possible for us to publish a generic guide as it is an individual set-up that is needed in most cases. As part of our treatments, we get our patients to take a photo of their work stations and we help them set it up correctly.
A very common issue we find amongst our patients who work in an office is that they do not sit all the way back in their chair. Instead they perch on the edge or only sit part way back in their seat. This basically engages your spinal muscles to work and hold you in an upright posture. Soon they become tired - especially the lower back muscles. They are not built to hold your posture on their own all day long. Generally this leads to your pelvis rocking backwards and putting a strain on your lower back. You will continue to maintain what seems like perfect posture by using your mid back muscles. This leads to an ache developing in your mid back too soon after.
Sitting is a passive process, therefore you need to have a high quality chair set up correctly for you. Then you need to sit back in it as far as you can and allow it to hold your back in the correct posture without overloading your muscles. Then move your chair right up to your desk to prevent you feeling the need to lean forward.
Another common issue we see is that a patient's forearms end up unsupported for most of their work day. As a result the muscles along the top of your shoulders end up holding a lot of weight and getting sore. It is important to get about a half to two thirds of your forearm onto your desk in order to relax these muscles.
It's also important to keep your eblows near your side and not let them stray too far when you are using the mouse. This tends to create a fair bit of load on your rotator cuff muscles. To know the correct position for your arms - simply place your elbows by your side and bend them to bring your forearms up to 90 degrees. This is how it should feel when you are sitting at your desk.
We spend a lot of time focusing our attention at computer screens. Hence their position needs to be adjusted for your eye-line to be looking somewhere within the top half. This will be individual depending on the screen size, length of your neck, your height etc. You should feel no tension in your neck after 30-60 mins of looking at your screen. If your screen is too high, it is common to develop pain at the top of your neck or a headache. If your screen is too low it is common to develop pain at the base of your neck. Also shifting your screen back can create more room on your desk for your arms which relieves pressure on your shoulders.
Eye-wear is also quite important. If your glasses aren't strong enough and you are near-sighted, you will feel the need to lean forward. If you are wearing bi-focal glasses there is a tendency to tip your head back to look through the bottom of the lens. This will create neck problems irrelevant of your screen set-up. Get your eyes checked regularly and if you spend a fair bit of time at your desk, get a set of glasses which are perfect for that.