The Simple Tip for Desk Bound Pain

workstationOur friend Paul Knotts is a talented Physiotherapist and ergonomics expert. He certainly has the right last name for his chosen profession. Recently he shared what he said was the number one secret to avoiding back and shoulder pain from sitting at a desk. We loved his tip and want to share it with you.

The majority of office workers, especially computer users, suffer back, shoulder or neck pain through their working week.

To look after your spine it’s imperative to sit correctly, and with your pelvis and lower back posture right, the middle/upper spine and neck posture improves. We shouldn’t spend hours and hours in our office chairs, so get up regularly, maybe talk on the phone in standing, and break your tasks up daily.

So what angle between the vertical trunk and thighs should you sit at? If you said 90 degrees which is widely taught, “The computer says NO!” & this is easy to prove and demonstrate. What you need to do is create an angle of a little over 100 degrees.

If you were to sit with your feet on the front of your seat, arms clutching your knees, your lower back or Lumbar Spine (Lx) is rounded in the opposite direction to where it needs to be, and would become quite uncomfortable. The correct Lx curve is felt in upright standing with the back of the hand.

Try this. Sit to the front of a stable seat, toes on floor underneath, heels together, and the thighs are sloped DOWNWARDS. Feel how the Lx curve automatically pops into place and it FEELS comfortable. It’s not magic, it’s anatomy. (The same is felt if you sit on the edge of a desk, with thighs sloping downwards…..voila!)

The solution: If you have a tilt lever on your seat, tilt the base forward a little, making the angle 100 degrees plus. If not, lean the seat back backwards a little, achieving the same angle. Ideally change these positions through shift. Try it and feel better each day.

Paul Knotts

TIPS Principle, Physio, Ergonomics & Injury Prevention Specialist


About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

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