Desk Life

April 27, 2016

Two of the most common physical problems that clients mention to me before a massage, is pain in their lower back and tension across their shoulders.


Working at a desk, is, for the majority of us, a fairly common place to spend our day. Our bodies tend to be naturally lazy and will easily slip into postures that they find to be comfortable. Unfortunately these 'bad-habit positions' are invariably not good for either our health or our bodies long term posture.


Looking at your seated position at work will tell you a lot about why these problems are occurring. They are easy to adjust but often tricky to remember to do and may take some time for your body to naturally readjust itself.


How to sit correctly


If you work in an office and use a computer, you can avoid injury by sitting in the right position and arranging your desk correctly.


Back Support

Adjusting your chair so that your lower back is properly supported is a great way to avoid incurring back pain. A correctly adjusted chair will reduce the strain on your back. Get one that is easily adjustable, so that you can change the height, back position and tilt. Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips. Use a footrest, if necessary.

Adjust your chair

Alter your chair height so that you can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor. This can help to prevent repetitive strain injuries. Your elbows should be by the side of your body, so that the arm forms an L-shape at the elbow joint. 

Rest your feet on floor

Your feet should be flat on the floor. If they’re not, use a footrest, which lets you settle your feet at a level that’s comfortable. Don't cross your legs or tuck them behind you, as this can cause posture-related problems.

Place your screen at eye level

Your screen should be directly in front of you. A good guide is to place the monitor about an arm's length away, with the top of the screen roughly at eye level. To achieve this, you may need to get a stand for your monitor. If the screen is too high or too low, you'll have to bend your neck, which can be uncomfortable.

Using the keyboard

Place your keyboard in front of you when typing. Leave a gap of about four to six inches (100mm-150mm) at the front of the desk, to rest your wrists between bouts of typing. Your wrists should be straight when using a keyboard. Keep your elbows vertical under your shoulder and right by your side. Some people like to use a wrist rest to keep their wrists straight and at the same level as the keys. 

Keep your mouse close

Position and use the mouse as close to you as possible. A mouse mat with a wrist pad may help to keep your wrist straight and avoid awkward bending. If you are not using your keyboard, push it to one side if using the mouse a lot.

Avoid screen reflection

Your screen should be as glare-free as possible. If there’s glare on your screen, hold a mirror in front of the screen so you know what's causing it. Position the monitor to avoid reflection from overhead lighting and sunlight. If necessary, pull blinds across the windows and replace ceiling lighting with table lights. Adjusting the screen's brightness or contrast can make it much easier to use.

Working with spectacles

People with bifocal spectacles may find them less than ideal for computer work. It's important to be able to see the screen easily without having to raise or lower your head. If you can’t work comfortably with bifocals, you may need a different type of spectacles. Consult your optician if in doubt.

Make objects accessible

Position frequently used objects, such as your telephone or stapler, within easy reach. Avoid repeatedly stretching or twisting to reach things. 

Avoid phone strain

If you spend a lot of time on the phone, try exchanging your handset for a headset. Repeatedly cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder can strain the muscles in your neck.


Regular massage can help alleviate tension issues building up within the body. Book yourself a treatment today and make your desk-free time, stress and pain-free too !

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