Fix Your Office Posture

Do you spend a lot of time at a desk or hauling around a bulging briefcase? If so, you might want to try these tips.

When you spend a lot of time typing away at a computer, bad posture or habits can really add up. Working in awkward positions can irritate the bone-tendon-muscle connections, resulting in musculoskeletal problems such as fatigue, overextension, tendinitis, and carpal tunnel, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

To ensure you keep good posture on the job, here are some tips from the chiropractic Web site spineuniverse:

  • Give yourself a hug: Start your day by stretching your arms above your head. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) also suggests wrapping your arms around your body and turning as far to the left and right as you can.
  • Keep it flat: For women, wearing flat shoes is better for your back than high heels.
  • Pack right: If you tend to tote around a laptop and lots of papers, you might consider a better briefcase. Bags or briefcases worn over one shoulder are better to avoid—but if you must use them, choose a wide strap. Proper backpacks are the best option.
Sit Right

Having a good chair might be the best way to achieve good posture. But if expenses are too tight to get everyone a new chair right now, here are some other tips from spineunvierse and OSHA:

  • When at your desk, sit with your back against the back of the chair with knees at hip level. A footrest or a small pillow or rolled towel placed at the lower back can help offer support.
  • Your desk or workstation should be at elbow height.
  • Your shoulders should be straight and parallel to your hips.
  • Don’t slouch! Generally, your torso should be vertical or within 20 to 30 degrees of vertical.
  • Make sure your computer screen is at a height so you don’t have to tilt your neck forward or backward to view it. Tilt your computer screen so the center of the screen is at eye level.
  • Don’t cradle the phone between your shoulder and head. Using a headset or speakerphone is better.
  • Small keyboards are hard on your wrists. When laptops are the primary work computer, it’s good to also have a larger keyboard and monitor.
  • Take frequent stretch and rest breaks. See, all of those meetings are good for you.

More information about good posture at computer workstations from OSHA is available here.