Bad posture is often a culprit of common issues including neck pain, upper/lower back pain, shoulder pain, and headaches. This is why we asked one of our clients, Foundation Physio and Wellness, a physiotherapy clinic located in downtown Toronto for some advice for those who live at their desk every day.
“Maintaining a proper sitting posture throughout the workday can be quite challenging, so it is crucial to make sure your workspace is set up to facilitate that proper posture” — Victoria Lavinskas, Physiotherapist, PT, MScPT
Victoria and her team shared with us six important ergonomic tips for your workspace to help your employees keep a healthy posture:
1. Adjust the backrest/back support so that there is a slight reverse curve in the lowest part of your back.
The spine has natural curves in its “neutral” position. An ideal sitting posture should maintain those curves. Your chair can help by providing support for that lower part of your back.
2. Ensure there is a 90-120° angle of your hips and that you are not slouched.
If the angle of your hips is too great (e.g. when you’re sitting in a soft/low couch) it can cause your lower back to round out and create a “slouched” posture, which will affect the rest of the spine.
3. Raise/lower the chair so that a) your feet are flat on the floor and b) your knees are also at a 90° angle.
This will decrease strain on your lower back.
4. Move closer to the table, so that your hands can reach the keyboard while your shoulders are pinched back, elbows are by your side and bent between 90-120°.
This will decrease any strain on your neck and shoulders.
5. Adjust the height of the workstation or the armrests on the chair, so that your hands are at a lower level than your elbows.
This will allow your wrists to stay in a position which will take some load off of your forearm muscles.
6. Adjust the distance of the monitor, so the top of the screen is equal to eye level.
This will encourage an upright posture since your eyes are facing straight ahead.
And there you have it—six ergonomic tips that you can share with your employees in your company to make for healthier and happier employees. Do you know any other tips for staying healthy while working a desk job? Share them in the comments below!
Note: these exercises are to be used for preventative purposes. In the case of injury or limitation, please consult with a physiotherapist or chiropractor as soon as possible.
Foundation Physio is one of Toronto's best-reviewed clinics. Visit them here and speak with one of their health care providers.