Many of my patients sit at a desk for when they work. For some, it is a third of their day; 8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep, and 8 hours of other pursuits. The magnitude of this settles in when we realize that the time we spend at work is vast. I have seen that pain motivates change; not a new idea, but a profound one. The body says, “Ouch! Please take care of me. Please change something for me.”
The advent of standing desks and adjustable keyboards is actually earlier than you may think. I found a sit-stand desk designed for Marie Antoinette in 1778 for her to use while pregnant.
If only we all had a royal artist/craftsperson to design our desk.
Here are some current solutions to your workspace redesign. Take a breath and situate your self in a mood of self care/self love, which I believe are one in the same.
All the adjustments you can make
Start with your chair. Your thigh and your lower leg should create a 90-degree angle. Have a friend stand beside you and tell you when you have reached this angle. It isn’t easy to find this alone, so here is another reminder that change is easier with a friend by your side.
Patients ask at this point, “What is the best chair?” I would answer the best chair is like the best bed. You feel an, “Ahhhhh. This is perfect”, when you sit in it. Look for adjustable height, a feeling of support for your spine, which lifts you up into a neutral posture. Find the place of chest lifted, and your ear positioned over your shoulder. The laws of physics have proven that for every inch forward your head sits beyond your shoulder, the weight of the head doubles. This is what creates the most stress and pain on the neck, shoulder muscles, and your entire spine. Your neck was designed to hold up 10-12 lbs., not 20, 30, or more.
Now, sit with your arms by your side resting against your body. If you have found adjustable arm rests, that is wonderful. If, not continue with this next step and use your armrests for times of rest.
Reach out and create this 90-degree angle again with your hands extended in front of you. Your hands should be flat to the horizon, no lift or drop in your wrists. Feel how this settles in your body. It is the most ease and least amount of stress on your body for sitting purposes.
Now comes the material world challenges
Your keyboard needs to meet up with this posture. It may take an adjustable keyboard table installed under your desktop. It may take an entirely new desk, which accommodates an adjustable keyboard table. Your mouse should be easily accessible to your dominant hand without a change in the posture you have created. The investment you make in this setup will pay off in more than dollars; I promise.
Now where is your monitor? When you sit in your chair and you look ahead, your eyes should settle in the middle of your monitor. This will create a neutral posture for your neck. No looking up, down, or to the side. Raise your monitor with books or a stand, whatever works for you. This is a process, which will take some time and gentle encouragement to yourself through the obstacles.
If you have any questions or would like to invite me to tea and to help you with this set up for your home or office work space, I would be happy to be that friend by your side. Contact me and we will set it up!