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Desk set up for neck, shoulder & arm pain

Desk set up for neck, shoulder & arm pain

Improper desk set up is a very common cause of neck and shoulder problems. If you are working from a laptop or your screen is too low it’s only a matter of time before your neck or shoulders start to complain.   


Desk set up tip #1: Monitor

The two most important things to consider when setting up your monitor is:

  1. The centre of the monitor should be at eye level.
  2. The monitor should be directly in front of you so you don’t need to turn to look at it.


Monitor stands

Whether your are sitting at a desk or using a sit-stand workstation, a monitor stand is usually needed to raise your screen to eye level.

To find your ideal monitor stand height:

  1. With your arm relaxed by your side, measure the vertical distance from your elbow crease to your eyes (measurement 1).
  2. Measure the distance of the centre of your monitor to its base (measurement 2).
  3. Subtract measurement 2 from measurement 1.

This will give you your ideal monitor stand height, and ensure your keyboard is at elbow height and your monitor is at eye level – reducing the stress on your neck, shoulders and arms. 

For laptops, tablets and small monitors we like the Lavolta stand (below) as it is extremely adjustable and folds away neatly making it easy to travel with. You can also find a range of larger monitor stands on amazon.


Desk set up tip #2: Laptop


If you are using a laptop on a regular basis a separate keyboard is a must. Without it is impossible to work without straining your neck, your shoulders or both. Place your laptop on a monitor stand so the screen is at eye level and use your seperate keyboard at elbow height, or slightly below.  This will minimise the stress on the neck, shoulders and arms.

If you don’t want to contend with more wires, wireless keyboards are also available.



Desk set up tip #3: Mouse


Place your mouse towards edge of your desk to avoid overstretching.

For wrist, elbow and shoulder problems, a vertical ergonomic mouse is a good option as it places the upper arm and hand in a more neutral positon reducing the strain on the muscles and joints. We recommend the Anker Vertical Ergonomic Mouse from Amazon.


Workstation Solution Cover

Free eBook

Workstation Solution

Simple, practical advice for creating a healthier workspace. Includes:

  • Back-friendly chair set-up & sitting alternatives
  • Ergonomic tips for neck, shoulder and arm pain
  • The dangers of excessive sitting & what you can do to reduce your risk.




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This page was written by Steffen Toates. Steffen is a chiropractor at Dynamic Health Chiropractic in Jersey, Channel Islands. For more information about Steffen click here.


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