In a world largely based on technology, it is extremely common for most of us to work sitting at a desk for 8+ hours a day. The action of sitting at a desk for long periods, plus staring at a computer screen, can lead you to hunch forward…and before you know it, your shoulders feel like they’re glued to your ears. If that happens to you more than you’d like, discuss improving your ergonomics with your doctor of chiropractic.
Ergonomics (helping people be efficient and effective in their working environment) can go a long way in diminishing neck and back pain or discomfort. Who’s available to guide you? Your doctor of chiropractic.
Doctors of chiropractic specialize in diagnosing the causes of musculoskeletal pain, and we know that changing your workplace ergonomics is a great way to help decrease the pain that occurs in the workplace.
For those who sit all day at a desk or workstation, here are 7 great tactics and strategies to use:
1. Proper Chair Height
Make sure your feet can rest flat on the floor without a footrest. Whatever work you’re doing at a desk or table, check to see that your elbows are bent at approximately 90 degrees (a right angle). Doing this ensures your wrists do not have to flex or extend to type on a keyboard or write on a legal pad.
2. Correct Sitting Position
It would be best to have a chair with built-in lumbar support (preferably adjustable) so that you are not slumped forward in the chair. Sitting up straight with support for the back (especially the lower back) is essential to decrease neck and low back pain.
3. Computer Monitor at the Right Angle
Whether you use a desktop computer or laptop, you should be looking downward from 0-20 degrees from a horizontal line of sight. You should also not have to turn your head to one side or the other to see the screen, and you should not have to crane your neck up or look down to read the screen.
4. Using a Lumbar Support/Roll
Maintaining lumbar curvature and support is vital in maintaining good posture when seated. A lumbar support, or a rolled cushioning of some sort, can help preserve the iordotic curvature (the inward curve of the lumbar spine while seated.
5. Maintaining an “Off-loading” Position
When seated, we often slouch backward, which places a lot more weight on the spine’s posterior aspects. Instead, sit with more weight forward on your thighs (“off-loading”) and less weight on your ischial tuberosities – the curved bone that makes up the bottom of your pelvis. Off-loading can help reduce the stress placed on your low back.
6. Occasional Movement
The longer you sit still, the weaker your muscles become, and the more stress your spine has to support. Make this your daily rule: Set a reminder on your phone every 30 to 60 minutes, and then take 5 to 10 minutes to stretch or do a brief walk.
7. Try Using a Sit/Stand Desk
To help avoid sitting for a prolonged time, many people find satisfaction by breaking the day into phases of sitting and standing. A “sit-to-stand desk” – one that can telescope up and down to different heights – allows employees to convert their desk setup to a standing or sitting position as needed.
A word of caution from your doctor of chiropractic: Standing at your desk does allow more movement throughout the day, but such a change might lead you to choose a more supportive pair of shoes than before.
A research article titled New Studies Support Inclusion of Chiropractic in Collaborative Care details that doctors of chiropractic “are specifically trained to diagnose, evaluate and provide non-pharmaceutical care and rehabilitation to individuals suffering from acute, subacute and chronic low back and neck pain, headaches, neuro-musculoskeletal, and other related conditions.”
Your doctor of chiropractic is always willing to talk to you about the specifics of your workstation and whether or not a change in your work environment can be beneficial. The chiropractic profession is devoted to whole-body health over one’s lifetime. After a thorough physical assessment, recommended chiropractic treatments can involve
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC), founded in 1922, is a private, nonprofit, chiropractic and health sciences university in Overland Park, Kansas. The CUKC on-campus Chiropractic Health Center is open to the public and treats patients from Kansas City’s 15-county metro area. Our goal is to provide care and solutions for a better, more productive life for our patients.