12 Tips For A Healthy Workstation
My practice is located in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The majority of my patients come from the surrounding office buildings and high rises.
90% of those patients sit at workstations. My practice was built on successfully treating repetitive injuries from poor workstation ergonomics and poor sitting posture.
I quickly saw the importance of preventing the overuse issues by offering a workstation checklist to give to each of my new patients.
I certainly enjoy writing articles such as this one, however, it can be challenging to have proper ergonomics at home with my laptop. It's easy to fall into bad habits of sitting on the couch at my dining room table.
In this article, I will share with you how to set up a healthy workstation at home or at the office and prevent the damaging effects of prolonged sitting in 12 easy steps.
Dr. Angela Walk
Sports Chiropractic Physician
Founder of Nashville Organix
Tip #1. Use a comfortable chair that supports your spine
The most supportive office chairs enable you to adjust the height, the height of the arm rests, seat depth, and the angle of the reclining feature. It's important to have a highly adjustable chair that will fit a variety of body types and sizes,
Make sure all of these adjustments are correct for you.
The chair height should allow your feet to be flat on the floor with knees and hips level with the floor
The arms rest height should allow for your shoulders to relax and drop comfortably
Your elbows should be bent at a 90 degree angle
Your back should be pressed firmly against the back of the chair. The best office chairs support the "S" shape of your spine. If your chair does not have this type of support, a lumbar support cushion is recommended.
A lumbar support pillow will encourage you to sit properly with a more upright posture.
Tip #2. Maintain Proper Sitting Posture
It's difficult to maintain proper posture while we are sitting and most of us spend more time "slumping" and leaning forward that we do sitting upright.
For every inch the head juts forward, you are placing an additional 10 lbs. of stress on the joints of the spine and muscles.
During posture evaluations, chiropractors regularly observe many of their patients carrying their head two to three inches forward, which is an extra 20-30 pounds of pressure on their neck.
Proper posture is lining the center of the ear up with the center of the shoulder. Try improving your sitting posture by placing your lower back firmly against the back of the chair and using a lumbar support, and holding your head upright, chin level, and chest high.
Tip #3. Set your monitor at the proper height
Place your monitor so your eye level is about 2 to 3 inches below the top of the screen and about an arm’s length away.
The monitor should always be directly in front of you at a distance of 20-40 inches from your face.
Adjust the brightness and contrast of your monitor so that you can see clearly and without unnecessary strain. Avoid shifting your head forward or bending your neck to see the screen more clearly.
If you use a laptop at your workstation, consider using a docking station to raise your laptop screen to eye level or plug your laptop into a real monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
Tip #4. Keep your keyboard at the right height.
Ideally, when you’re typing on a keyboard, your arms and wrists would be in a neutral position: parallel to the floor or angled down toward your lap to reduce strain.
Avoid bending your wrist sharply upwards or downwards to type. Since most desks are fixed height, it is best to adjust the chair height for the correct position of the arms and hands.
Choose an ergonomic keyboard with a split keyboard that helps you keep your mouse close to your keyboard. It's helpful to cushioning for your wrist and palm as well.
Tip #5. Use a mouse that fits your hand
A responsive mouse that is comfortable to use will help to reduce strain on your hands. Place the mouse near the keyboard. Keep it in a position that will enable you to transition between typing and using the mouse with as little effect on your arm and wrist posture as possible.