Physiobench :: Online physio. Self manage your injury with expert physio guidance.
Self manage your injury with expert physio guidance

Computer work can be such a pain.

by Jane Hodgson 2 October 2008


Working in a poor position at the computer can cause pain in the neck, lower back, hip, upper back, wrist and arms. Our ergonomic information will help you to check how well your workstation is set up


  • Choose a chair that has an adjustable height and backrest.
  • Sit with your feet flat on the floor. If your feet are not flat on the floor use a footrest or a book.
  • Don’t cross your legs. This causes a twist at the lower back and can limit circulation.
  • Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips; this encourages a good position for your lower back.
  • Adjust the chairs’ back rest to give good lumbar (lower back support). The backrest angle should be between 95 and 110 degrees.
  • The lumbar support (outwards bulge) of the chair should be at waistband level. If the chair does not provide you with enough lumbar support, commercial lumbar rolls can be purchased. Alternatively try using a rolled up hand towel. Lumbar support does not hold the back in a good position, but reminds you to maintain a good posture.


  • When using the keyboard, elbows should be at 90 degrees. If the desk is too high to achieve this, higher your chair, but remember to use a footrest if your feet are not flat on the floor once you have done this.
  • Shoulders should be relaxed. If the desk is too high, shoulders will be elevated (shrugged up towards your shoulders). Again, raise your chair, but remember to use a footrest if your feet are not flat on the floor once you have done this.


  • Position the monitor so it is directly in front of you. If the monitor is off to the side you increase your risk of neck and back pain because you will have to sit twisted
  • The monitor needs to be at eye level so you are not looking up or down to it. Put the monitor on some books if it needs to be raised up.
  • Position your workstation to avoid glare. At 90 degrees to a window is usually good.


  • When typing, the wrists should be maintained in a neutral position .If your chair is too low your wrists will be forced into more extension (pushed backwards). Put your hand on the keyboard then adjust the height of your chair to get your wrists to a neutral position.
  • A wrist rest can be useful in maintaining a neutral wrist position.


  • Take frequent breaks
  • At least once an hour get up and move around even if just for a minute.

If you want to know more about how to self manage your injuries, take a read of our articles



Lumbar Rolls and pelvic wedges to help improve sitting posture are available from physio supplies


Personalised treatment

For the inclusive package of £28, you receive a personalised injury self management programme comprising exercises and expert advice from your chosen physio.

Included in this price is a follow up assessment, which you can choose to take at any time within 3 months folllowing the initial assessment.

personalised treatment - find out more

About the author

Jane Hodgson - Chartered Physiotherapist Jane Hodgson Jane specialises in lower body injuries and has raced competitively in running, orienteering and adventure racing.

Did you know

The natural tendency when sitting in an office chair is to slump. This increases the pressure on the posterior spinal ligament and the lumbar disc and over time will cause back pain.

This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health, verify the HONcode.
Share |