Having carried out a number of workstation assessments at a local office recently, I was provided with a stark reminder of how the human body is just not designed to stay in one position for any length of time. We simply must keep moving constantly – see Claire’s blog on the benefits of fidgeting! The unfortunate office workers I spoke to were all complaining of various chronic musculoskeletal symptoms – sore necks, aching backs, recurrent shoulder pain and so on. There were some minor adjustments required at some of the workstations, but by far the most striking theme was that all the workers were sitting at their desks in the same position for hours at a time without a break. Most if not all their complaints could resolve with by taking a break every half hour or so, with a quick stretching routine that takes literally seconds to perform: with the alternating arching and flexing the spine a few times, rotating side to side, and looking away from the screen.
The other thing many people get wrong when working at a desk is to have their keyboard and mouse too far away. The keyboard should be placed close enough to the user so that there is enough room for the hands to rest on the desk when not typing but still allowing the elbows to be kept at the sides of the body with the elbows at 90 degrees. Similarly the mouse should be positioned so that the elbows can remain in this position at the sides while the mouse is moved. The mouse should be propelled from the shoulder, not the wrist. If you need any advice on workstation assessment then please feel free to give Richmond Osteopaths a call.
But above all – take regular breaks to stretch, look away from the screen, and keep moving!