How to set up your workstation.

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How to set up your workstation.

Today we are going to discuss how to set up your workstation at work or home. We will also give you 7 exercises that you can do at your desk. The wrong workstation setup can cause a lot of neck pain and low back pain. Many people are currently working from home with the COVID-19 pandemic and we see many patients that struggle with headaches, neck and low back pain due to poor posture. To set up your workstation in the correct manner will help to put you in a better posture position and this will really help to reduce pain.

Here are 8 areas that you can adjust to set up your workstation correctly.

Set Up Your Ergonomic Home Office – Ergotherapy

1) Your chair should be adjustable to allow you to raise or lower the chair so that the elbows are at the height of the keyboard. Our receptionists use these chairs from Ergotherapy – contact us to order yours today!

2) Your hips must be slightly higher than your knees to avoid over-pressure on your thighs. Rest your feet on the floor or on a foot rest (we recommend this one from Ergotherapy).

3) Sit as far back in the chair as possible. Support yourself against the back rest of your chair, and avoid leaning forward for long periods.

4) Use the arm rests to keep your elbows close to the body and relax your shoulders.

5) Make sure the top level of your computer screen is at, or just below, your eye level.

6) Keep the viewing distance as far as possible while still being able to see clearly.

7 & 8) Keep the keyboard and mouse, if using, in close proximity, to avoid excessive reaching and straining. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your wrists in line with your forearm. Use a wrist rest for added support.

Now that your desk and office chair is set up correctly now it time to quickly go through some exercises that you can do in your office chair.

Here are 7 workstation exercises.

If you can do these 7 simple exercises every day at work it will really help to reduce and manage your pain.

1) The first exercise is nice to do if you have neck pain. You sit in your chair up straight and make a double chin into the chair. Don’t push your neck too much forward, only to neutral. Repeat this 10 times every 2 hours.

2) Forward neck stretch: Pull your neck forward and hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times a day.

3) Side neck stretch: Pull your neck to the side and hold this for 30 sec. Repeat 3 times a day. Also stretch the other side

4) Thoracic Mobility exercise: Sit up straight. Put your hands at the back of your head. Do a flying movement by opening and closing the elbows. Repeat 10 times

5) Shoulder stretch: Pull the arm across the body. Relax both shoulders. Hold this for 30 sec and do this 3 times a day. Also stretch the other side.

6) Hip stretch: Cross your leg over the other one. Lean forward and feel the stretch in your buttock. Hold this for 30 sec and repeat 3 times a day. Also stretch the other side.

7) Lumbar extension exercise: Stand up. Put your hands on your bum. Move your body backwards and go into the stiffness. Repeat this 10 times.

Its very important to get up every 30 minutes to walk around and get your body moving. Sitting truly is the new smoking, it actually increases mortality rate, so please get up and move! Please do all exercises within limits of pain.

There you go, try to implement these exercises and workstation setup tips everyday and feel the difference! Please contact us if you need help with headache, neck pain, or low back pain.

Just Physio also offers a Corporate Wellness Program to enhance workplace health – contact us for more information today!

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Written by: Adrien Dannhauser, Updated June 2024 (Marelize Grobler)