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Minimize Your Pain By Sitting Up!

Do you sit at your computer for hours on end?

If you answered yes, you’re no different than so many of us. We tend to sit with our head forward, chin tilted upward, shoulders hunched forward and back slumped and rounded. Not a pretty sight for our spines and the supporting structures and muscles - and a recipe for neck and back pain all around.

Sitting in this manner brings on headaches, neck, upper, mid and lower back pain. Eye strain and jaw pain often accompanies the headaches. All of these aches and pains make it hard to stand erect, drive and sleep without pain. Trying to play any type of sports can cause additional pain and discomfort, making it difficult to perform your best.

So, what is the perfect posture? The best way to think about posture is to feel your feet flat on the floor, with equal weight bearing on your toes and heels. Then, imagine a string coming from the top of your head keeping you upright. Relax your knees and shoulders, and bring your head/chin down just a bit. If you stand in front of a mirror, you will be able to see how straight you are standing.

For sitting in front of the computer, keep your feet flat on the floor while sitting against the back of the chair. Your arms should rest comfortably on the arm rests, keeping the shoulders relaxed. This is the perfect height for your keyboard. Place your computer monitor so the top of the monitor is at eye level. This will allow your head to remain in a neutral position, avoiding neck strain.

There are various factors in a perfect economic workstation. This website,, can take into account your height, use of bifocals, and preference for standing or sitting and will calculate the heights and distances for your workstation!

But without specific measurements, how do you know how your work station should be set up?

  • Position computer monitor 18" - 24" away (about an arm's length), and about 15° - 30° below your line of sight.

  • Don't let light shine in your eyes or on your screen.

  • Square the location of the screen to your line of vision.

  • The height of your seat should allow for your forearms to be at 90° from your spine. Preferably, your chair will have adjustable, padded arm rests.

  • Use a wrist pad to support your hands when not typing.

  • Feet should be firmly planted flat on the floor, or on a foot rest so that your thighs are at 90° from your spine.

  • All items should be within arm's reach to decrease the strain on your back, neck, and shoulders.

If you have an ergonomics specialist at your company, request an appointment. The specialist will help you re-arrange and re-align your workstation to best fit you. Or, call our Natick office at (508) 650-0060 and set up a free consult to talk about proper ergonomics with one of our doctors. And don't forget to get up and walk every hour to help prevent back and hip pain, eye strain, and mental fatigue!

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