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How to maintain good posture at your desk

Updated: Mar 11, 2022

For most, in this technologically advanced age, a day of work involves sitting at a desk and/or computer for the better part of eight to 10 hours. This prolonged positioning can wreak havoc on one’s neck, shoulders, and lower back.

As you are sitting at your desk with your mouse and your keyboard out in front of you, going about your day, you may notice a slumped or slouched posture. Anatomically, in this position, the pelvis is tilted back or posteriorly, decreasing the natural forward curve, or #lordosis, of the low back. This will cause your sternum to drop and your upper back to round. Because the upper back is rounding and because all the work being done is out in front of the body, the shoulders assume a more rounded position.

The head and neck follow suit and start to fall forward and in order to maintain visual on the computer screen, one must pick up the chin, which causes cervical alignment to go #haywire.

This decreased lumbar lordosis, rounded shoulders and forward head posture is very common and unfortunately can lead to headaches, neck pain, shoulder problems, low back pain, decreased productivity, sick days, medical expenses…you get the idea.

Here are a few simple ways to help maintain good posture while at your desk:

  • Sit all the way back in the chair

  • Draw your belly button in towards your spine to activate your deep abdominal muscles to maintain an upright posture.

  • Place a towel roll horizontally just below your shoulder blades to keep the #sternum lifted

  • Keep your chin tucked and head back so your ears line up over the #shoulders.

  • Keep your shoulders down away from your ears (may help to lower your keyboard or raise your chair)

  • Stand up every hour, take a short walk, or do 10-15 backbends.

  • Avoid rounded shoulders by stretching your pec muscles – grasp a door frame and gently step through until a stretch is felt in the front shoulders

  • Check-in with your posture throughout the day

  • Be activated before or after work



Emily Saugen, DPT, is a physical therapist at the Hope Network Neuro Rehabilitation Center.

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