Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is there a proper way to sit while I'm at my computer?"
I sit at a desk at work for 8 hours a day. I work on a computer. My back has started aching lately. Is there a certain way I can sit to make sure my back is okay?
As you already know, sitting at your computer for hours can take a toll on your body. Knowing how to sit in the correct position helps prevent back pain, neck pain, knee pains, and a tingling of the hands and fingers that can manifest into numerous musculoskeletal injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome where the pain is so severe that surgery may be the only option. But with good sitting you can sit long periods without pain. In general, you should sit as close as possible to your desk to position your elbows at a 90-degree angle so that your upper arms are parallel to your spine and your hands are rested on your work surface (e.g., desktop, computer keyboard). You also want to make sure that you have good low back support so you need to have your bottom pressed against the back of your chair to keep you from slumping forward or slouching down in the chair as you tire over time. It would be helpful to have a cushion that causes your lower back to arch slightly. As well you should put the monitor up on a book, block, or shelf to maintain your gaze at the center of your computer to reduce neck strain. However, if your back pain continues to persist, I would recommend a consultation with a primary care doctor who may refer you to an appropriate specialist for further work-up and treatment.
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