Taking back control of your posture and how to correct desk posture
Much has been mentioned in the press recently about the effects of poor posture leading to problems such as ‘tech neck’ or ‘skull horns’ (yes, those are a thing), lower back issues and tight shoulders to name a few. In an ideal world companies would be offering their employees standing desks, but unfortunately we’re a long way off from that happening. So what can we do to achieve the proper posture and alignment whilst at a laptop or computer?
Achieving the proper alignment of the entire body is very difficult when using a laptop. Most of us gaze down at the laptop, which means the neck is often craning forwards or downwards. Try implementing these simple things so you can achieve proper ergonomics and alignment of the body:
- Elevate your laptop so the top of the screen is around eye level. Use some thick books, a box or other props to raise it so that the neck can rest comfortably in neutral. This will help prevent repetitive strain, stress and irritation in the spine and joints of the neck.
- Use a Bluetooth keyboard. Now that your laptop is elevated, you’ll need to use a separate keyboard to type. This will help you achieve proper ergonomic support for the forearms, wrists and elbows while maintaining your neck alignment.
- Review your chair and desk set up to ensure it’s ergonomic. Feet should be fully supported on the floor, the knees should be slightly lower than the hip joints, and the pelvis and back should be supported in neutral with a good ergonomic chair, if possible. The forearms should be supported, elbows bent at 90 degrees in a position where the shoulders are not hunched. Shoulders should also be able to rest comfortably back and they should not be in a forward, protracted state.
Remember to take frequent breaks from your computer too. I also do the following:
- Practice transverse abdominis contractions, neck stretches, wrist mobilisation and gentle shoulder rolls throughout the day.
- Do a posture check-in from time-to-time. Most people readjust their bodies into sub-par positions when as the day goes on, so it is good practice to scan your posture and readjust to keep those aches and pains away.
- Set an alarm on your phone to encourage you to stand up, go for a walk, get a glass of water, etc. to ensure you are not sitting in a static position for long periods of time.