How to sit correctly at work

Michael Butters explains how to avoid back and shoulder pain by sitting correctly at work

Full Video Transcript

Hi guys, this is Michael from St. Leonard’s Physio. Today I just wanted to talk about just ergonomic set up at work. Commonly we see people with neck pain, shoulder pain, mid thoracic pain that develops from people sitting poorly in their office environment. So today I just wanted to highlight how we should be sitting at work.

So, number one, we start from the bottom and we’ll work our way up. So our feet should be nice and flat on the floor. If you’re a bit shorter, you might need to have your foot on a foot rest. But ideally nice and flat on the floor. Knees should roughly be bent at about 90 degrees, hips either at the same height or slightly higher at your hips than your knees. Either or. You might find that sitting on a towel, sitting on your hands just to hold yourself up there can actually get your pelvis back into a better position.

In terms of the backrest, the backrest should support most of your back. It should also allow you to lean back into it so you’re not trying to hold yourself full upright, you should be leaning back a little bit. Next thing, let’s look at arm rests. Arm rests should be adjustable so you should be able to go up and down. You should be able to slide in underneath the desk. And they can be there just to rest your arms there. Your forearms would…your elbows just bent back a little bit less than 90 degrees down into that position there. So you wanna be able to hold the elbows at almost 90 degrees without them jamming up against here. Keyboard should be nice and close towards you. Or if you’re frequently using the mouse, you might move the keyboard over to the left. Have the mouse a little bit closer up to avoid the mouse being over to the right side.

Looking at the screen height, some people have two screens. We’ll just look at the main screen more than anything else today. So in terms of that position of the screen, the top of the screen should be about eye-level. The screen should be facing up towards you on a slight tilt, and it should be easily in arms distance. Too often we see that people are slumping because their screens are too far away, they’re too flat, and they’re too high so they’re looking at the middle of the screen. If you’ve got two screens, completely understandable. Either set the screens up like a V, and so you swivel between left and right, or if you’re using the other screen then we can look down towards it and come back to the middle. Try to avoid looking down towards the other screen for extended periods. [inaudible 02:27:00] Thanks, guys.

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