back and neck pain from work seating position

Good posture at work reduces back and neck pain

One of the primary reasons people are referred to osteopaths is because of back pain which has been caused by poor posture in the workplace.

According to the Health & Safety Executive: “Unsuitable seating can cause people to adopt awkward postures which can lead to discomfort, back pain and upper limb disorders. This may prove costly to employers in the form of staff absences, potential civil claims and lost production. Individuals also bear some of the costs in the form of suffering and lost income.

Long periods sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen can encourage bad habits such as slumping which, in the longer term, will end in discomfort and injury.

Stevenage office interior fit out experts SEC Group see long-term benefits for companies in preventing back pain: “By having ergonomic office furniture and encouraging all your staff to use it properly, you can reduce the likelihood of needing the help of an osteopath. It will also have the added benefit of helping keep people motivated and alert throughout the working day, with the win-win trade off of making the company more productive.

It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a whole office refit, or setting up a home office in your spare room, the principles of setting up an ergonomically correct workstation remain the same: prioritise your posture!

Hitchin Osteopathy recommends that everyone follows health & safety guidelines in order to try and prevent postural back and neck pain:

  • Position your chair back at a 90-degree angle or slightly tilted back.
  • Make sure the height of the chair allows your arms to rest parallel with the floor or sloping down slightly towards the keyboard.
  • Your desktop must be just below elbow height which, for some, will necessitate the use of a footrest.
  • Your keyboard needs to be directly in front of you, with your screen placed a minimum of an arm’s length away.
  • The ideal height for your monitor is to have the top of the screen two or three finger widths below eye level.

Make sure that your office furniture complies with the appropriate health & safety regulations and British Standards. The Health & Safety Executive has produced a free guide to Seating at Work which details an employer’s obligations and provides useful information about the best seating for all types of workspace, whether it’s used for people working in an office or operating machinery.

Thankfully, ergonomically designed office furniture has become the norm and you no longer have to kneel on funny little contraptions to reap the benefits. These days, manufacturers produce high-quality office furniture designed around keeping the human frame as healthy as possible.

If you need treatment for conditions caused by poor posture, contact Hitchin Osteopathy to arrange an appointment.