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Work Position & How it Influences Pain

Common conditions and complaints that arise from work position

The most common complaints that arise from sitting in the same position all day include headaches and pain/stiffness in the low back, upper back, and neck. Shoulder impingement and hip tightness are common complaints as well. These types of complaints can occur together or separately and are often related to working positions.

Does my work position matter?

Having any posture, “proper” or not, where you sit in the same position the whole day is what we want to avoid. Sitting in the same position whether it’s slumped forward with rounded shoulders or sitting perfectly straight with shoulders back, can be influential on symptoms you may be having. Recent research suggests that changing your position every 20 minutes can be significantly beneficial for decreasing symptoms when compared to sitting with the “correct” posture all day.

How often should I change my work position?

It is recommended to change your position throughout the day about every 20 minutes. Setting a timer on your phone or computer can be a helpful tool to remind yourself to change position.

What can I do to improve my work positioning?

There are many ways to improve your work position, but as stated above the most important thing is to move throughout the day and to change your position often. Specific modifications include elevating your screen/computer, incorporating a five minute movement routine, going for a walk, changing the distance of how far your keyboard is away from you, and sitting with your knees and hips at 90 degrees (proper chair height).

Elevating your computer screen. A simple lifestyle ergonomic that can be helpful is elevating the computer/screen so it is level with your eyes. This is helpful because it decreases the amount of your head tilt when looking at your computer. There are two common ways to elevate your screen. One way is to put books or a stand underneath the computer. Another common way is to have a sit-to-stand desk that can alter the height of your desk. Sit-to-stand desks are great because they allow you to utilize multiple body positions while working.

Incorporating a movement routine. Adding movement to your break period can be very helpful for increasing mobility and decreasing pain. Specific movements can be found on our instagram here. If you go through each exercise it should take about 3-5 minutes. There are so many different routines you can incorporate throughout your day. Find one that you like to do and make it fun and enjoyable so it is less likely to feel like a chore.

Going for a walk. This can be beneficial for many reasons, not just to improve posture. Daily walks have been shown to improve mood, increase circulation, and give you a mental reset. We have started to incorporate a daily walk into our schedule and it has immensely improved our productivity.

Sitting in the correct sized chair. You can tell if the chair is a proper size for you by having foot contact with the grouhd while the hips and knees are at about 90 degrees. Another addition we like to see in office chairs is to have an adjustable backrest so you can change its position throughout the day.

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