Setting Up Your Workspace – Advice from a Physical Therapist

November 20, 2017

By Sean Ruane, DPT

Do you have nagging neck pain that just won’t go away? Do you sit all day long at work? Everybody talks about working on your posture to decrease neck pain- however, there could be something else limiting your ability to have good posture. You can work on perfecting your posture all you want but if your desk isn’t set up properly, most people fall right back into the same bad habits that got them into these positions. Today I am going to talk about some strategies to set up your workstation so that you can improve your posture.

How big is your Font?

The first thing to check is your font size on your computer. If your font is too small, it causes you to lean forward. When you lean forward, your shoulders slouch and you also cause tightness in the muscles in the upper portion of your neck. Every couple of minutes, check to make sure you are not squinting or straining to see what is on your screen. This can make an immediate impact on your posture.

To fix this: if you use the Chrome Browser, go to Preferences and under “Appearances” you can easily adjust the font. For Safari and on a Mac, you can set font sizes so they never show up smaller than a certain size in the Accessibility section.

Computer/Chair Height

Another important thing to check out is the height of both your chair and your computer. Make sure that your computer is pretty close to eye level so that you don’t have to look up too high or down too low. This will allow your neck to be aligned optimally. Secondly, make sure your chair allows your thighs to be parallel to the floor. If the chair is too high or too low it can cause your spine to out of a neutral position, which over time, causes stress.

Desk height

Your desk should be at a height that allows your arms to rest comfortably. If the desk is too low, your neck/shoulder muscles have to hold your arms up the entire day. This, over time, causes your muscle to become fatigued and tensed. If the desk is too high, your neck muscles will become tight from being in a shortened position the entire day.

Moving is Important, Too!

Lastly, make sure you are getting up from time to time. Staying in any position too long is not optimal. Set a timer at your desk for 60 minutes. When the timer goes off, stand up and stretch or walk around. This will allow your muscles to relax and become less stiff.  You also might want to try reminders n something like an Apple Watch, will give you reminders on standing up during the day to keep you more mobile.

Try these strategies to get an immediate improvement in your posture today. If you still have questions, or can’t get rid your nagging neck pain, come in and see us today. We can help you feel better soon!