How to Sit at Work If You Have Back Pain

If you work a desk job, you probably spend more time at your desk than you do at anything else in your life.

And yet, that time is often spent sitting in a chair that’s too low, with a desk that’s too high, and our necks bent down looking at a screen at an angle that makes us feel like Quasimodo.

That can result in all sorts of nasty stuff, like eyestrain, shoulder pain, back pain, arm pain, wrist pain, and neck pain.

Desk jobs might not seem physically taxing, but they can certainly cause us some physical problems. If you’re going to level up your office life, it’s time to do a desk audit.


Aching Shoulder and Neck Pain:

You want to sit in a chair at a height where you can sit with your shoulders relaxed and pulled back, you’re sitting up tall, and your forearms are parallel to the ground or lower, meaning you don’t need to reach up to your keyboard, nor shrug your shoulders.

One common complaint we hear around the office is aching shoulder and neck pain. This kind of pain is often accompanied with a headache of some sort due to straining your neck from the wrong moitor height.



If you work with a laptop, you are spending most of your day hunched over a tiny keyboard and trackpad.

Even if you work with a desktop computer, it’s certainly possible the monitor is not high enough for you to be able to not have to tilt your head down to look at it.

You want the height of your monitor to be such that you can look straight ahead and not have to adjust your neck angle to view the screen.


There are several ways to relieve pain:


Practice good posture:

To practice good posture, sit up tall and straight against the back of your chair. Keep both feet on the floor. Adjust your computer screen so that it’s at eye level. And lastly, ensure your keyboard is at the correct height so your forearms are parallel or near parallel with the floor.


New West Physicians Quick Tip! 

Write a sticky note and put it on your computer monitor that asks the question, “Am I practicing good posture?” That sticky note will remind you to consciously check your posture every time you see it. Sometimes you’re so wrapped up in work that you dont  even notice your posture suffering.

Having a sticky note to remind yourself really helps!



Don’t stay in the same position for hours upon hours! Studies suggest the best plan for prolonged spinal health is to consistently alter your work environment – move around, stand when possible, sit…just don’t sit in the same position for 8 straight hours!

Set a timer every thirty minutes, and get up and do something! Take a lap around the office, do some shoulder rolls, neck rolls, or twists. 



Taking five minutes to stretch can do wonders to relieve all sorts of pains from sitting at a desk all day, and aching shoulder and neck pain is no exception.

We suggest getting out of your chair before you begin stretching. This will allow you to have more room and more range of motion.

Start by standing up tall and doing a few simple neck stretches. Drop your right ear to your right shoulder to stretch the left side of your neck. Then switch.

Keep your arms down at your sides and open up your hands such that the back of the hand faces the wall behind you. Doing this makes the stretch more effective.

You can also do some arm circles to loosen up the shoulder muscles. Begin by doing small arm circles like you’re washing windows. Then move to bigger arm circles.


Watch:  "3 simple stretches you should do if you sit all day"



Following some of our daily routines can drastically help you feel better at work!




Posted in Health Information and Tips