Ergonomics 101: Working from home

Feb 18, 2021

ProActive Physical Therapy

by ProActive Physical Therapy

Hybrid work from home has become the norm in our society today. However, many are unaware of the stress bad ergonomics places on our bodies. People can develop wrist, elbow, neck, or back pain, never concluding the cause to be that of their own doing. Sitting in a chair for long periods places compression and stress on our joints, which can cause stiffness, strain, and pain in our bodies. Setting up your workspace correctly can help prevent back issues and problems in the future.

ergonomic graphic with proper sitting position

Steps for a properly seated workspace.

– Eyes should be level with the top of your computer monitor.

– Shoulders should be relaxed and low, not high or hunched up.

– Lower arms should be parallel to the floor. They should be resting on a support.

– Feet should be resting on the floor.

– Upper back should be straight, and your chair should support your lower back.

– Avoid slouching in your chair and keep your hips as close to the back of the chair as possible.

– Upper legs should be at a 90-degree angle from your body.

– You should be sitting up straight, and your screen should be a full arm’s length away from you.

– You should avoid leaning to any one side.

There is also the option of working at a standing desk that may increase blood flow, good posture, and decrease stress overall placed on the body.

Man standing up in front of standing computer

Steps for maintaining proper posture at a standing desk.

– Eyes should be level with the top of your computer monitor.

– Shoulders should be relaxed and low, not high or hunched up.

– Elbows should be bent to 90 degrees, and the desk should be set to the height of your forearms.

– You should be standing on an even surface with your feet shoulder-width apart.

– You should avoid leaning to any one side.

Sitting for long periods can be detrimental to your body.

Being sedentary has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.  Along with correcting your positioning at the desk, it is also essential to take standing breaks away from the computer every 30 minutes. Going to the bathroom, stretching, getting a drink of water, or grabbing a snack are good excuses to step away from the desk. Taking a lunch break away from the desk is also a good option.  Going for a walk on your lunch break is an excellent way to get your body moving and may even grant you some much-needed energy and concentration to take on the remainder of your day.

If you have experienced wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck, or back pain and cannot find relief from correcting your workspace, physical therapy can help decrease your pain and give you the tools to help it from happening again. You will be taught proper stretching, strengthening, and body mechanics based on your body and individualized goals. You will be able to get back to work feeling good again before you know it!

If you are suffering from pain and poor range of mobility, we welcome you as a patient. We have 9 clinics throughout greater Tucson; request an appointment or come in for a free Injury Assessment.

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