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


Woman in pain from sitting at work desk | Spine & Sport Physical Therapy | San Diego, Irvine, Sacramento, CAOne 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 desk. Many of you probably inherited your work 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 desk 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 physical therapy treatment or exercise in the world is quickly undone by a poorly organized work station.

Checklist for adjusting your work desk 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 an 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 computer 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 desk setup has become a near epidemic. Please take the time to set your work station up correctly. You’ll be glad you did!

Move forward, faster, fearlessly