10 Ways to Set Up Your Desk to Prevent Pain

2 Men slouching over laptops

Ergonomics are a great way to avoid injuries. Setting your desk up well can make a huge difference for your health. How many of you just adjusted your posture?
After all, you spend 8 hours or more sitting in front of a computer. Think about it, that’s more than 30% of your day. You’re probably reading this while sitting at your desk or on your phone. If you did, you are already headed in the right direction. If you tend to slouch, protrude your neck forward or get into bad posture this can put unnecessary stress your body and on your nervous system.
Here are 10 tips and tricks to improve your workstation.

1. Make sure the top of your screen is at eye level to ensure you are no bending your neck in either direction. Make sure to have the screen at a good distance, so that you’re able to view your screen without squinting or poking your head forward. The monitor should be around arms length from you.
2. DO NOT slouch. Try to keep a rolled-up towel or a lumbar roll at your mid to lower back, that will help maintain and upright sitting posture.
3. You do not have to stay in one position all day. Moving around in your chair can help reduce pain and increase blood flow, just make sure you don’t spend to much time in the wrong position.
4. Make sure you are sitting at the back of your chair with a little space between the front of the chair and the back of your knees (about 2 fingers’ worth).
5. Make sure the weight of your arms is always supported. Your elbows should be bent at about 90 degrees.
6. Make sure your hips and knees are at a 90-degree angle to avoid putting extra stress on your back and hip flexors. If you are on the shorter side or your desk is tall you may want some sort of foot rest.
7. Keep your keyboard and the mouse close enough to avoid shoulder strain when reaching. They should be around the length of your forearm from the edge of your desk.
8. Ensure your wrist is supported. You can put your wrist under a lot of stress if you are constantly using your mouse. Place a small towel under your forearm to help support your wrist and have the mouse near you. If you use a laptop for more than 3 hours a day, it’s worth investing in a wireless mouse.
9. When you are sitting at your desk try to do small contractions to “wake up” the muscles. This can be as simple as glute squeezes or scapular squeezes.
10. Finally, get up and move around regularly. Think 20/20; meaning for every 20 minutes of work take 20 seconds break. This can be as simple as getting up and touching your toes, rolling your shoulders or going for a walk to the printer. Here are some ideas for your 20 seconds break.
a. 5 sit to stand
b. Fingers and wrists stretch hold for 15 seconds each hand
c. 20 seconds of push-ups.
d. 20 seconds of sit-ups.
e. 20 seconds arms overhead stretch.
f. 20 seconds of wrist rotations

Considering we sit for about 30% of our day, a few simple changes can make a huge difference in the way your body feels. Protect your body now, even if you’re not in pain yet.

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