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Desk Help
By: IHI
06.25.14 Wednesday
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Well, you finally found that dream job!   Congratulations!  The only problem now is … you find yourself saddled to a desk all day long.  That can be harder to manage than any report your boss throws at you.  Sitting around all day in a state of basic inactivity is sucking the mobility out of your joints and can expose you to all sorts of negative problems on your overall health. Our bodies are designed to move and stretch; to be elastic, not statuesque. Below are some tips for making life at the desk a bit easier on your mental status as well as your physical self.
  1.  Try to maintain good posture.  It’s important to invest in a well-designed chair that supports your back and arms.  Opt for a chair with an adjustable back, arms and height.
  2. You should sit eye level to the top of the computer screen.   Let your eyes do the work at looking down, not your neck.  Any other position will strain your neck and I promise you, there is nothing worse than a pain in your neck!  It’s like an itch you can’t scratch!
  3. Avoid pressure on your arms.  This added pressure is not healthy for all those nerves running from your shoulders to your fingers.  Not only that, leaning on your arms means your shoulders are slouched over and before you know it, pain will be your central focus, not your work.  Keep your elbows at a 90 degree angle and look straight ahead.
  4. Adjust the height of the chair so your knees are just slightly lower than your hips.  If your chair is nonadjustable, get a small step stool or a stack of books to rest your feet on   This will take the pressure off your back.
  5. To protect your wrists, try out an ergonomic keyboard and/or mouse.  These are readily available at most office supply stores.
Now that your work station is whipped into shape, let’s look at some easy exercises you can do while at your desk.
  1. Press your shoulders back and down.  This is a good stretch but really needs to be become a way of life, not just something we remember to do when we feel pain.  While your shoulders are down, straighten your head.  Your chin should be down and back so your ears line up with your shoulder.  If you aren’t use to it, it will feel very awkward but good at the same time.
  2. Do a few shoulder shrugs and head tilts, stretching out the neck as you go.
  3. Reach your arms above your head and your legs straight out in front.  You will feel a wonderful, big stretch.
  4. Don’t forget to stretch out your arms, wrists and fingers.   Bend your wrists forward and backwards and in small circles.  Wiggle your fingers and stretch your arms out and up.
  5. Finally, back away from the desk.  Take a walk to the water cooler or around the block.  Stretch as often as you can.
A desk job translates to inactivity that is really hard on your body; not only that, your fingers, wrists and arms are doing repetitive motions that set you up for overuse injuries and shoulder, neck and back strains.  Taking a little time each day to get up and move and stretch will save you a lot of pain down the road.
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