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Desk Work and poor Posture - your ergonomic set up at work

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Jun 7 2016 08:00AM

Our sports and remedial massage specialist suggests how you can set up your desk for optimum benefit to your posture

A large percentage of clients who come to see me have neck,shoulder and arm pain and almost all of them work at a desk for up to eight hours per day (sometimes not even taking an hour out for lunch) and then often on their laptops at home for a further hour or two in the evening.

I am often asked about the correct way to set up the computer to minimise poor posture habits so I thought it would be useful to give some tips on how you and your computer should be positioned.


This should support your lower back so find one with good lumbar support. When sitting in your chair, there should be a space of at least 8cm between the edge of the chair and the back of your knees. You should be able to have both feet flat on the floor, thighs slightly below your hips. If you are on the short side, you could think about using a foot rest while taller people could adjust desk height.


If possible, this should be positioned so that your elbows are by your sides, and your arms at a 90◦ angle. Idealy it should be angled down and away from you and approximately 3-5cm above your thighs. So a pull out tray below the desk is ideal.


To find the correct distance, sit back in your seat and extend your arm. For perfect positioning, your middle finger should be able to touch the screen. For height, close your eyes and when you open them again your line of vision should be on the URL or address bar. Raise the stand or add a book or two here.

Laptops and Tablets.

What can I say? They are ideal for working from anywhere but terrible for your posture. Try to raise the screen and if possible use a separate keyboard. If you can't do this then try to limit your time using them.


Please take time to get up and move about at least once an hour. I suggest to my clients that they set a reminder on their phones and do a few neck stretches before sitting back down again.

Tessa is at West Norwood Therapies on Thursday mornings, Friday evenings and the second Saturday of each month.

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