• Performance Therapy Center

My Desk is a Pain in the Neck (or Back)!!!

One of the most frequent issues we see in our Physical Therapy office is neck or back pain from long days of working on a computer. It’s a chronic problem, but one that can be easily rectified by properly setting up your work station. I know that many of you probably inherited your desk or chair from the person who utilized it before you. To state the obvious…we are not all the same size! If you sit at this work station for multiple hours during the day it is critical that you take a few minutes and customize it to fit you. All the well intended treatment or exercise in the world is quickly undone by a poorly organized work station.

Here is a checklist to consider as you adjust your work station:

  1. Feet flat on the floor (or foot rest)

  2. Knees and thighs are level (or slightly lower than your hips)

  3. Support the curve in your lower back via the chair or use a lumbar pillow as you sit back in your seat

  4. Use arm rest to support your forearms in line with your keyboard with your shoulders and neck relaxed.

  5. Hands, wrists, and forearms are straight and parallel to the floor

  6. Head is centered over your body and facing forward

  7. There should be 1-2 inches between the back of your knees and the seat

  8. Your Monitor should be approximately an arms length away and the top should at your eye level

  9. Take frequent short breaks to interrupt sustained positioning (30-60 seconds every 30 minutes)

  10. Get some amount of regular exercise daily to decrease your stress level and improve your fitness

Neck and back pain due to computer work has become a near epidemic. Please take the time to set your work station up correctly. You’ll be glad you did!

Here is a great video that details some of the essential things to consider.

Brian McMahon, PT


Performance Therapy Center

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