OrthoVirginia Blog

Posture and an Ergonomic Work Space

When resting or sitting at a desk, not many people think about their posture.  However, this is very important.  While you may think that your body is resting, there are actually many muscles working to keep you upright.  Prolonged positioning in awkward or incorrect postures can potentially contribute to neck pain, upper back pain, and headaches.  This may be especially prevalent in people who work in sedentary or desk jobs.

            A good question to ask is how is your environment set up?  Think about your job.  Are you sitting at a desk all day?  If so, then the computer monitor should be straight ahead at eye level.  You should not have to turn your head to look at your monitor.  The keyboard should be sitting at a height that allows your elbows to be bent and resting comfortably.  You should have a good chair with good back support and feet fully on the floor.  Do you answer the phone all day?  If you do, do you have to turn your head or body repeatedly to reach it?  Do you cradle the phone between your ear and shoulder? Any of these motions can contribute to neck or back pain.  A hands-free headset can eliminate some of these problems.  If any of the above aspects are off, then that may predispose you to incorrect posture. 

Also be sure to think about home life and how you sit when looking at the computer/TV or reading.  Any prolonged postures can potentially contribute to neck or back pain.  It is always a good idea to periodically check how you are positioned to make sure that your posture is good.  A good rule of thumb for correct posture is to overexaggerate good posture and then relax.  To do this, sit fully straight with your shoulders back and head in line with your trunk.  Then relax about 10 percent.  This should be about the position that is appropriate for your body.

            There are many other aspects that can contribute to neck pain, headaches, and back pain.  If you have any further questions, our physical therapists will be glad to help.  We are able to screen where your pain is coming from, assess your posture, help correct it, and talk through your work/home environment to see if any changes are necessary.