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Sitting is not a healthy activity for the back. However, there are certain ergonomic changes you can make to lessen the impact sitting has on your spine …
Ergonomic chair set up
- Adjust seat height so that feet are on the floor and knees are no higher than hips.
- Seat back should be able to recline (95 to 105 degrees).
- Seat pan should be tiltable. (Tilt seat forward for desk work. Tilt seat backward when reclining. )
- Arm rests set to a position to properly support elbows.
- If the chair doesn’t have a decent lumbar support place a small rolled up towel or cushion into the small of your back to help maintain a neutral position to your low back.
Ergonomic desk / computer ergonomics
- Centre of the monitor should be at nose level.
- Monitor should be directly in front of you so you don’t need to turn to look at it.
- No glare on monitor.
- Place mouse towards edge of desk to avoid overstretching.
- Desk/ keyboard should be at a height so that:
- Wrists are not bent (a wrist rest can also be used).
- Elbows are at a 90 degree angle.
- Shoulders are relaxed (not shrugged).
- If the desk is too low use a desk stand to raise it.
- If the desk is too high raise chair and use a foot stand.
- Using a headset can reduce tension in the upper quarter brought on by excessive telephone use or holding telephone between ear and shoulder.
- Re-arranging your workspace (e.g. monitor/ keyboard/ folders) so that you don’t need to repeatedly turn your neck.
- Although these changes to your chair and seated position will help to reduce spine stresses, holding any one posture for a prolonged period of time will still lead to increases stiffness and tension. Remember…
“The best posture is one that is constantly changing” (Prof. Stuart McGill)
*figures reproduced from Liebenson. C., Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies
This post was written by Steffen Toates. Steffen is a chiropractor at Dynamic Health Chiropractic in Jersey, Channel Islands. For more infomation about Steffen click here.