Working at Your Home Desk -part 1: Positional Considerations

min read


The Sports Injury Clinic

April 21, 2020


Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many people have had to begin working from home at a desk or work area that is different to their normal set up. Whatever your set up is, there are many ways to alter your body position in relation to your work space and computer. 

The below pictures highlight key positions to avoid the occurrence or exacerbation of lower back and neck pain:

Picture 1 highlights a poor position being applied. With the seat being too low, the angle at the hip is decreased which leads to 2 things.

  1. A greater shortening of the hip flexors. As the hip flexors attach to the lumbar spine (lower back), greater tension is developed.
  2. The lower back starts to round the lower you sit which causes multi segmental flexion which leads up into the thoracic spine causing a stooped posture.

Both leading to lower back pain. If you suffer lower back pain, try increasing your seat height to open your hip angle, this lengthening your hip flexors. Add cushions or books if your seat is not adjustable. I find more than a 90-degree angle works nicely for most people.

A 90-degree angle or more with elbows/forearm rested on desk is a good position to adopt. As long as your shoulders aren't being elevated to achieve this. Seat height will affect this. If you are sitting too low, it will decrease the angle your elbow is at which will elevate and shrug your shoulders causing shortening of the upper traps which again leads to tension and neck tightness/pain. My cue is to have elbows at or slightly higher than desk height which will prevent your shoulders from elevating.

Finally, you want to avoid a forward head. An adequate seat height as previously discussed will allow you to sit up straighter with a more neutral spine. Adopting a small chin tuck will prevent your chin protruding forward.

Other things to consider:

  • eye line even with top of screen.
  • feet flat on the floor, hip width apart.


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