1. Don’t position your office chair too high – While it’s important to ensure that your office chair is high enough to effectively work at your desk, most people tend to sit too high off of the ground.  A seat height between 16-21 inches off of the ground is a good rule of thumb.  With your feet flat on the floor slide your pointer finger under your thigh at the front of the seat.  If this is easy, your chair is at a good height. If this is difficult, your seat is likely set too high.
  2. Utilize a small step under your desk – Using a small step below your desk will help for you to change the position of your feet, legs, hips, and pelvis throughout the day. Rotate between having both feet on the floor, one foot up, the other foot up, and both feet on the step throughout the day. This will aid in reducing prolonged stress to joints of the lower extremity.
  3. Make sure you support your back – Maintaining a healthy lumbar (low back) curve is important in sustaining long term back health.  Ideally the back of your chair should be set at or just past 90 degrees and have low back cushioning that provides additional lumbar support.  Appropriately adjust your work chair to stabilize your back.  Tip: For additional support roll up a towel and place on the back half of your seat. This will tilt the pelvis forward which induces an improved lumbar curve.
  4. Address the height of your computer monitor – While seated at your desk close your eyes, position yourself in proper posture, and take a deep breath. Upon opening your eyes your vision should be directed at the middle of your computer screen.  Adjust the height of your monitor (most often it needs to be raised) to avoid undue strain and stress on your neck and upper back.
  5. Take breaks – You weren’t designed to sit behind a desk staring at a screen for 8 straight hours per day, so don’t do it! Take frequent small breaks to stand and walk around before continuing with work. If you are in pain, you should be doing this every 30 minutes.  Despite the increase in small breaks your productivity will improve as you are a more comfortable, happy, and healthy employee.

 Feel free to post any comments, questions, or ergonomic tips below!- Dr. McKenzie