In the last decade, standing desks have been the big talk for office workers. “If I had a standing desk my pain/stiffness/soreness would go away.” What people do not realize is that there is just as much room for error with a standing desk as there is with a sitting desk. I am not saying that standing vs. sitting desks are better or worse, but I want to give you a few tips on how to decrease pain/stiffness/soreness with both sitting and standing desks.
With American’s averaging 47 working hours a week, it is imperative that we have our office set up as ergonomically correct as possible to decrease the chances of musculoskeletal overuse/injury. For those of you who spend many hours in front of a computer and have the availability of a seated and standing desk, it is recommended to use a combination of both throughout the day. Our bodies respond best to a balance between static versus dynamic activity such as sitting versus standing. Balance is KEY!
Let’s get to it, what should your desk set up look like?
- Your head should be directly over your shoulders so if someone was looking at you from the side your ears would line up with your shoulders.
- Elbows, knees, and hips should be bent to 90 degrees.
- The top of your monitor should be at eye level and an arm’s length away.
- Feet should be flat on the floor or on a footrest.
- With elbows relaxed by your sides at a 90-degree angle, you should be able to type comfortably on your keyboard as well as your mouse without reaching.
- Your wrists should be at 180 degrees or neutral to the forearm.
Standing desk: (Very similar to seated desk.)
- Head should be directly over your shoulders.
- Desk height should be at or slightly below elbow height.
- With elbows resting comfortably at your sides and bent to roughly 90 degrees, you should be able to type on the keyboard and use the mouse without reaching.
- Again, maintain wrists in alignment with forearms.
- Shoulders rolled back and away from your ears.
- Top of monitor should be at eye height and an arm’s length away.
- A standing mat has been shown to reduce fatigue.
**IMPORTANT** Avoid locking legs out straight and standing with a hip “popped” (shifted over to one side). Ensure weight is equally distributed between both legs.