How to Change Your Desk Setup for Better Posture

It’s not just about a straight back.

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A stiff neck, tight shoulders, and a throb in your lower back might feel inevitable after a long day parked in front of your computer, but these pains are actually a sign that your desk setup may be causing you pain.

So let’s talk desk ergonomics. That means setting up your desk to help you avoid pain, have better posture, and work more efficiently. Here’s what experts recommend to maintain good posture throughout the day and prevent those aches and pains in your shoulders, back, and neck.

  • Move your computer monitor back. Chances are, you’re sitting too close to it. “Keep your distance,” says Dena Nader, MD, Regional Medical Director for MedExpress Urgent Care. “Position your computer screen about an arm’s length away from you to help your eyes focus more easily.”

  • Adjust the angle of the screen to reduce any glare from other lights. If necessary, adjust curtains or blinds in the room. This will keep you from squinting all day, even if you don’t realize you’re doing so.

  • Raise your computer monitor so the top of the screen is about two to three inches above your eye level, advises UCLA Environment Health and Safety. Prop it up with a stand or a stack of books if necessary.

  • Move your keyboard directly in front of you. If you sit slightly reclined, prop up the “legs” on the bottom of your keyboard so it sits at an incline. If you sit with your back straight, leave the “legs” down and keep the keyboard flat.

And don’t forget the other tech devices at your desk. Looking down at your phone or tablet for extended periods of time can lead to a spinal injury known as “tech neck,” according to Dr. Chris Tomshack, founder and CEO of HealthSource - America’s Chiropractor. Just as with your computer monitor, try to hold your phone at eye level, keep your head and neck in a neutral position (not hunched over), and plant your feet on the ground.

Still struggling with aches? Find more ideas for preventing back pain here.