Desk Ergonomics for Office Workers

Hi! My name is Anna Hinman and I am a Physical
Therapist at Cioffredi & Associates Physical Therapy. I’m also a certified ergonomic specialist. I’m here to talk to you today about how to
properly setup your desk to avoid injury from sitting all day. Here we have your typical desk setup. The first thing to think about is that the
goal is to have 90 degrees angles at your elbows, hips, and knees. Having an adjustable chair is the best way
to make this happen. Most times, you can’t adjust the height of
the desk so start by making your elbows at 90 degrees and your wrists flat. Your feet don’t always have to touch the floor
because we can add a foot wrest. Once you have your chair set up, you can look
at your positioning to the computer monitor and the keyboard and mouse. As I said earlier, you want your wrists to
be as straight as you can get them. The best way to do this is by having a chair
with arm wrests on it. Unless you have nerve issues like carpal tunnel
or cubital tunnel syndrome, armrests are a good thing because they help support the weight
of your arms throughout the day. Without arm rests, your neck and upper trap
muscles have to work hard all day keeping your arms supported. Having your armrest higher than the desk allows
you to keep your forearms and wrists straight while your hands are on the keyboard. If you can’t do this, then having a keyboard
tray to lower the keyboard under the desk may be an option. The third option is to get a wrist rest which
raises the height of the desk just for your wrists. This is my least favorite option because of
the pressure it puts on the wrist. Any of these options work to get you in the
right position. It is then personal preference and what you
feel works best for you. If we set you up with something you don’t
like, you’ll never use it. The computer monitor should be no more than
arm’s length away. Your eyes should be at the top third of the
screen. You can raise the computer by buying risers
but you can also use something as easy as a ream of paper. Be sure that your computer monitor is centered
to your body. if you have dual monitors, you should have
the center of the two monitors directly in front of you so that you can see both screens
without moving your head. If you use your phone regularly, you want
it close enough and within arm’s reach so that you don’t have to turn or torque your
body. Tilting your head to hold the phone to your
shoulder can create significant neck injuries. A headset is very helpful for anyone who is
on the phone regularly throughout the day. You want to set your desk up using the perimeter
system. Keep all things you use regularly within arm’s
reach of your chair. Things you only use once per day or a few
times a week should be placed close to your desk but you may have to wheel your chair
to get them. The things you rarely use should be placed
away from your desk where you have to get up and get them. Now, I can set you up as good as it should
be, but if you sit all day, you’re still going to have problems and have to come see us anyway. We’re just not meant to sit for long periods
of time. Our body adapts to the positions that we’re
in and it is proven that we can only sit for about 20-30 minutes in good posture before
we start to slouch. So set a timer and when that timer goes off
in 30 minutes, stand up, sit down, reset your posture, or do some stretches or exercises. We will have some videos to follow of exercises
that can be done easily at your desk. Until then, we have some examples at our website: Thanks for watching!

2 Replies to “Desk Ergonomics for Office Workers

  1. I always sit with my shoulders slumped. I have tried sitting with my shoulders straight but that feels uncomfortable for me. When my neck starts hurting I slide down in the chair and rest my head on the back of the chair. When I do that it looks like I am laying down in the chair. LOL! When my back starts hurting I just sit up straight with my shoulders slumped again.

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