Your Guide to Posture in the Workplace

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Most office workers can relate to the feeling of getting to the end of a long day and feeling tired, cramped, and sore from sitting down all day. The human body hasn’t evolved to sit in a chair for 40 hours a week, so we can empathise with how you’re feeling!
Perth physiotherapists see innumerable clients who suffer from chronic muscle pain caused by poor posture and ergonomics. We’re here to help you fix that with a few simple tips that will see you sitting up straighter and feeling more energetic throughout the working day.

Risks of poor posture

The most obvious risk of prolonged bad posture is spinal injury resulting from too much pressure on your spine over the day. When your body transfers energy away from the spine to the arms, legs, neck and lower back looking for support, you end up tired and sore all over.
Here’s what you can do to correct that poor posture and feel better:

Desk ergonomics

Setting up your desk properly makes a huge difference. Go through the list below and fix anything that feels uncomfortable. Go on, we’ll wait…

    • Computer screen should be positioned directly in front of you, above your keyboard. It needs to be angled away from glare, about arms-length away. The top of the screen should be 5 to 8 centimetres above seated eye level.
    • Keyboard needs to be positioned so your elbows are slightly open (100° to 110°), your shoulders are relaxed, and your wrists are straight. A wrist rest can reduce the impact of a hard desk if you spend a lot of time typing.
    • Mouse should be positioned close to the keyboard so you’re not reaching between devices.
    • Telephone should be placed within easy reach. When you’re on the phone, avoid cradling the receiver on your shoulder. Think about getting a headset if you are on calls a lot.
    • Printed documents should be placed in an upright document holder between the keyboard and screen, or adjacent to the screen if you’re short on space.

How to sit

You might not even realise you’re slouching until your back starts to ache. Your chair needs to be correctly positioned so your feet are flat on the floor, hips back in the chair, arm rests suitable for relaxed shoulders, and your upper and lower back are fully supported.
Sitting incorrectly is one of the easiest ways to place extra load on your lower back and legs which will have you hobbling for the physio in no time.

Take regular breaks

When you’re done reading this, take a short break. Stand up, stretch, and give your eyes a rest from the screen. Getting up from your chair and moving around for 1-2 minutes every half hour reduces strain on your joints and bones by encouraging blood to flow around your body.
Having lunch away from your desk is also important to break up the routine and spend a good chunk of time in a different position. Even looking away from the screen every few minutes can improve the way you feel during the day and reduce eye strain.

What to do if you’re feeling the pinch

Prevention can be better than the cure, but if you are already experiencing muscle fatigue, back and neck pain, joint soreness, or tightness in your lower back it might be time to book a session with Perth’s favourite physio (that’s us).
Victoria Physiotherapy Group specialise in the treatment of back, neck, and postural pain as well as workstation advice and injury rehabilitation. Whatever your physio needs in Perth, give us a call or book an appointment online.

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