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  • Dr. Thomas

5 Ways Your Desk is Making Your Back Pain Worse (and how to fix it)

Low back pain is the leading cause of years lived with disability in developed countries, yet we often neglect to take care of our spines. This is especially true in an era where video calls and screen time are at an all time high. We’re spending longer and longer in sedentary, compromising postures and as a Chiropractor, I am seeing the results first hand. I’ve put together this short guide in hopes to correct some of the most common mistakes people make when setting up their work station.

1. Set up your monitor so that the top of your screen as at eye level. Our eyes naturally rest about 20 degrees below the horizontal, so setting up your screen this way will place it in your center of vision without having to strain the neck. The ideal viewing distance is between 40-74cm away.

2. Adjust your Desk height so that your arms can rest at your side with your elbows angled to about 90 degrees. Desks that are too high don’t leave room for the arms and this can cause us to lift our shoulders, resulting in fatigue and pain over time. Ensuring your office is the right temperature can also help prevent clenching of the shoulders (as we huddle for warmth).

3. A good chair can make all the difference. Some key components include low back support, adequate seat depth to fit the entire thigh, adjustable height, arm rests, and a 5 prong support at the base for stability. Standing desks are also a great option! My favourite ergonomically minded quote is “the best posture is the next one”. The key to feeling great is to keep moving.

4. Set the objects you use most closer to your body. If you are forced to reach across your desk throughput the day this can result in awkward postures that lead to pain.

5. Ensuring text isn’t too small can help prevent straining of your vision. When we have trouble reading text we have a tendency to squint our eyes and move the head forward. This anterior head posture puts extra strain on our neck muscles and joints. Research recommends that text 50cm away be at least a minimum of 0.3cm tall (Grandjean, 1988).

After considering all these tips my last piece of advice is to keep moving and not to work in bed or on the couch. Also, try and schedule activity breaks every 30 minutes to avoid putting to much strain on our body’s tissues. If you have any questions, or you’d like to learn more contact me at:

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