SHIFNAL CHIROPRACTIC CLINIC

Shifnal Chiropractic Clinic

01952 460 947

Posture at the Office

30/03/2015

Two weeks ago, I was on that favourite chiropractor’s rant of POSTURE!!!  But I’m not done yet – oh no, I have yet more nagging to do about how you do things in day to day life.

The posture techniques that I was describing two weeks ago should be the basis of everything we do.  Whether you are walking around, sitting at the computer or even lying down, your basic positioning should be the same.  Sometimes, it’s not easy to put this in to practice though, so I thought I would take a few minutes of your time to tell you about one example – good working posture when you are sat at a computer, whether at home or at the office.

Some of your posture will rely on you remembering to sit up straight, as the best chair and work-place set up in the world can’t stop you hunching forward over your keyboard.  For this aspect, it’s often a good idea to set yourself a regular reminder-task.  By this, I mean that every time you perform a particular task or movement, it acts as a reminder to check your posture.  This might be reaching for the mouse, answering the phone or simply taking a mouthful of tea.  Each time you do this, think “am I sitting up? Are my shoulders back? Am I leaning to one side?”.  The more often you remind yourself like this to start with, the quicker good posture will simply be your normal posture!

But you can help yourself with a few quick adjustments to your work place as well.  First consideration always goes to your chair.  It should be adjustable in height, have a nice tall back and a good amount of support for your lower back.  Adjust the height so that your knees and hips are at 90o with your feet flat on the floor, and make sure the back is fairly upright – a very slight lean back is acceptable, but not too much and definitely make sure it isn’t leaning forward!  When it comes to supporting your low back, even the most expensive chairs often fall down.  If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on the most ergonomically designed chair in the world, then try just using a small hand-towel rolled up in the arch of your low back to help maintain that curve.  Proper lumbar supports are also widely available, but a towel does just as well!

Next consider your desk. With your chair set at the correct height, you should be able to sit with your back nice and upright, a slight curve in your lower back and your shoulders pulled back and down (see last blog’s advice!).  If you then bend your arms so your elbows are at 90o, they should rest on the top of your desk.  More often than not, this will not be the case.  Of course, if you are able to replace your desk for one that is the right height, then perfect.  If, however, you can’t afford to do this then you may be able to adjust the height of your chair to fit the desk, and use a small foot-step to maintain that 90oangle for your hips and knees.  If your desk is too low, however, then about the only thing you can try is raising it up by putting supports underneath it – it is NOT a good idea to lower your chair to fit, as this will encourage your lower back to lose its curve and your shoulders to round forward.

Finally, we can look to the computer itself.  First, let me point out a laptop or tablet is never the right way to go for office-work.  They may be great for ease-of-access on the move, but they do nothing for your overall posture at a desk!  So, assuming you have a separate keyboard and screen, here  we go: If you are sat at your perfectly adjusted chair in front of your perfectly adjusted desk with your elbows bent to 90oso they are resting lightly on the desk...this is where your keyboard goes!  Straight forward or what?!  As for your monitor, this is a little harder to get just right.  It needs to be at eye level, when you are sat in your beautiful neutral posture.  Too high, and your neck will strain to look up and back.  Too low and you will end up hunching over it.  Play about with exactly what suits you until you find the most comfortable height and distance from you to fit your stature.

So, now you know how to set yourself up in a perfect posture, and how to carry that through to the office as well!

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