Here our our really simple tips that you can start doing straight away which will help you sit at your desk comfortably without back pain or neck pain.
1st tip to sit comfortably at your desk – chair height
This is easy to achieve on an adjustable chair but also possible using cushions on a fixed chair.
Firstly you want to make sure your feet naturally and comfortable reach the floor. You might feel that you need a foot rest to raise your feet up so that you feel like your legs are comfy. Th main priority though is looking at about your hip and your knee height. Ideally if you are sitting for periods of time, you want to see if you can get it so that your hip is slightly higher than your knee.
This is important as if you are sitting with your hip and knees level, you are putting strain into the hip and lower back. If you are sitting with your knees a little bit higher than your hip, then you are placing load into the lower back and people often end up in a slumped position. Ideally you want to think about how can you naturally have a little bit of a hip raise to your knee. Some people find, for example, if it was in a sofa or at your work desk, maybe you need to have a cushion underneath you so that then your hip is slightly higher than your knee. Also worth considering Is the chair correct for your leg length
2nd tip to sit comfortably at your desk – crossed legs
The number one thing I often say to people is do you sit with your legs so they are level, or do you sit cross-legged?
If you have backache, tension into the bottom, stiffness, pain, you feel stiff when you get up, then try not to cross your legs. Crossing your legs is a habit, which has developed over time. Some people have one leg they are partial to cross over the other.
Wherever possible try to sit with your uncrossed so that your hip and pelvis are level. If I cross my legs as you can see in the video own hip becomes higher than the other. So imagine if you were to sit at your desk for an hour, maybe two, three, four you a twisting your pelvis for that period of time. You will probably then notice tension and stiffness in the hip and or the lower back. Some people notice a sensation going down the leg.
Trust me this is not an easy habit to change, but it is one that if you have back pain, pelvis pain or hip issues if you break this habit you will defiantly feel a significant reduction in aches and stiffness over time.
People often say but is it okay if I cross my ankles? Crossing your ankles doesn’t have such of an effect on your pelvis, but if you had a knee pain or tension in the leg, maybe you want to think about uncrossing at the ankles as well.
3rd tip to sit comfortably at your desk – reach
The 3rd tip is looking at your desk set up. Focusing on your keyboard, mouse and any other things that you use regularly throughout your working day. For example,if you use a telephone, or are regularly getting envelopes or bits of paper, are they all within easy reach? So as we show in the video ideally you want to set yourself up so that if you tuck your elbows into your sides everything you use regularly is within this span.
Maybe you need to bring your chair a little closer to the desk, move your keyboard closer so that you can type without reaching and ending up in a forward rounded and slumped position. The mouse is also with that easy span so that you are not straining and creating a lot of shoulder tension and into the elbow. Is your telephone within easy reach so that I don’t have to move reach forward or to the side to answer it. Rather than you always reaching for things, which creates a forward shoulder posture, you want to keep your shoulders so they’re nice and relaxed and you can sit comfortably in a chair.
4th tip to sit comfortably at your desk – eye health
Eye health is so important and often over looked. Regardless of if you are sat at your desk for an hour, two, three or four, you want to think about the height of your monitor.
If you are sitting at your desk comfortably and look forward your eyesight and gaze should sit in the middle region of your screen. Often people are looking up or down which can cause neck and shoulder ache, pain and tension after a period of time.
So how can you raise up your screen I often just use boxes or books I am not using.
For your eye health it is also really important that at least every 20 minutes, you should go from looking at something close to looking at something in the far distance 20 meters for 20 seconds. This helps to reduces eyes strain, eye tension, and also will help with headaches and tension.
5th tip to sit comfortably at you desk support – support
So your next tip is thinking about how you sit in your chair, at lot of people I know end up in a sort of hunched over position. They don’t have much of a neck, and they’re reaching for the keyboard. So you can just imagine that by the end of the day, they are kind of slumped over rather than sitting upright.
Really important note on this you don’t want to hold any tension in your muscles or over correct a posture for a sustained period of time you should be sitting comfortably and moving often.
Ideally you are sitting tall but relaxed. You want to avoid the slumped position as shown in the video with a turtle neck. Which means you have no neck, your neck’s gone into your shell, and then your shoulder and arms are forward and as your are working and typing
I recommend if you have backaches, mid thoracic (mid back) tension to get a hand towel. Roll it up, put elastic bands or some string around it to hold the shape. You then place this on your back. Now most people naturally put this in the lower arch or curve of your back. Actually, you want to place it above the curve of your lower back as shown in the video.
This is important as it then supports the lower back but it also helps to support the thoracic (mid) back. If you have this support you should find it is easier to sit up in a straight posture for longer than previously.
6th tip to sit comfortably at your desk – get up and get moving
I know it is easily done but people often say to me that just get absorbed in a task and before they know it they have been sitting still for 3 hours. I often say to people that they need to get up and move around more often.
Your body is designed for movement it helps to get the blood pumping around it as well as to free off any tension to name 2 things. Ideally every hour you need to get up and you move around. Need a way to do this, go to the toilet, become the tea person in the office, go to the printer rather than having the printer right next to to your desk, get up, get moving, get the blood pumping.
You might find setting a timer for this helps you to remember as well
7th tip to sit comfortably at your desk – move at your desk
Following on from yesterday I hear you say – but I can’t get up from my desk that often, okay well now is the time to be creative and start to think about what can you do at your desk
Approach this like to you would on a long haul flight, get up and do your exercises. I want you to have fun with this and just think what movements can you do when you’re at your desk or in your desk chair so that you can move around. I show you a few on the video, they don’t need to be complicated even for example just stand up and sit down in your chair. Move your knees so that you are almost marching on the spot and lift them towards your chest. For more ideas please watch the video.
Try and find a way that you move that every half an hour, 20 minutes to reduce stiffness and tension building up.
8th tip to sit comfortably at your desk – water
So your last tip is a simple thing that you can do – drink more water. Personally I have a pint glass quite often on my desk, because then I know how many pints I have has in my day. This will help you feel better, more alert, less tired and more productive. Believe it or not it also helps with any aches and pains, muscle stiffness.
Some people really struggle with drinking more water because it means you have to pee more. It is really important that you drink consistently throughout the day. You don’t wan to drink a whole litre or a pint in one go because your body is unable to absorb it at this rate so you will just pee it straight out. You want to think about little amounts for example, a quarter of a pint each hour.
If you struggle, because then you have to pee at night try drinking more in the morning and by four pm try and reduce how much you drink so that you then aren’t peeing so much later into the evening and into the nighttime.
We hope these tips help you to reduce back, shoulder and neck tension at your desk.