Good posture is a fundamental component to our overall physical well being. Not only does it help improve breathing and reduce back pain, it is also linked to improved self-confidence and better mood. And yet, with 80% of Americans experiencing some form of back pain, many of us still struggle with maintaining good posture.
As more and more of our time is spent in front of a computer, it’s important to take care of our posture. And that starts with a proper ergonomic workstation.
Ideally your seat height should allow your feet to be flat on the floor. If you have shorter legs and/or your chair cannot be lowered for this positioning, then place something underneath your feet to prop them up (i.e. small step stool).
Pro Tip: Hips should be level with or slightly higher than your knees.
Elbows should be relaxed at your side and bent to 90 degrees so that your forearms can rest and be supported by arm rests (if your chair has them) or by your desk in front of you. You want to bring yourself closer to your keyboard/mouse (scoot closer towards the table) so you don’t feel like you have to reach and extend your arms forward to use your computer.
If your chair has a lumbar support to help keep the natural curve of your lower back, that is always helpful. If it doesn’t, you can purchase a lumbar support pillow or roll up a towel to help you keep this position (it should be placed at the small of your lower back). Another option is to sit on a small wedge or towel roll to help keep your pelvis in a slightly rolled forward position. This will help give your pelvis extra support so you don’t roll back into that curved/flexed position of poor posture. Keeping your pelvis in this position helps to better “stack” your spine from the bottom up to help your posture throughout your spine.
Your top of your computer screen should be about level with your eyes. If you work from a laptop computer, consider elevating it on a laptop stand and using an external keyboard/mouse so that you don’t have to keep your head/neck bent forward while working.
Looking for Physical therapy performance near Santa Monica? Your Doctor of Physical Therapy at MAVEN can help you improve your ergonomic desk set-up so you can have the best work station that works for you. We can teach you how to modify your set-up to relieve pain you may be experiencing and to prevent further pain/injury from arising.