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Best desk setup

Tips for your best desk setup

Many clients ask us about the best desk setup to prevent pain and injury. But have you considered changing your computer workstation recently or thought it was time to change those bad work habits you have developed? Poor workspace design or posture can lead to discomfort in our back, neck, shoulders and wrists.

These are our tips for your best desk setup either at home or in the office:

Adjustable Chair

  • Change the height to keep your feet flat on the floor with your hips and knees bent to approximately 90deg (you may need a foot rest!)
  • Try to have a chair with back support that can be adjusted to support the natural curve of your lower back


  • Bring it close to you – directly in front of your body
  • Aim to have your forearms parallel or sloping down to the keyboard without resting them on the desk


  • Keep this close to your body (similar to your keyboard); you don’t want to be reaching for the mouse
  • If possible, alternate between left and right hands to reduce overuse

Computer Monitor

  • Monitor screen should be approximately one arms length away from you when sitting – directly in front of you
  • The top of the monitor should be 5-10cm above seated eye height

Do you have 2 monitors?

  • If you use dual monitors equally – sit centrally, directly between both to reduce neck tension from repetitive turning to one side
  • If you use one monitor more frequently and occasionally use a second monitor – have the priority monitor directly in front of you

Helpful Hints:

  • Use a document holder to avoid working from documents flat on your desk
  • Have your phone within comfortable, easy reach if used frequently (maybe even consider a ‘hands-free’ headsets option?)
  • Re-arrange your desk so frequently used items are close (within arms reach)
  • Can you ‘touch type’? Maybe it’s time to learn? It might be gentler on your neck instead of repetitively looking down
  • Try to take regular breaks – maybe take a short walk around the office or have a 2 minute stretching break every 30 minutes

If you’re still wondering how to help prevent pain and injury from working at a desk despite having the best desk setup have a read of our recent blog on exercises to undo the effects of a day at the office.

Reverse the effects of the daily desk job

Reversing the Effects of the Daily Desk Job

Sitting at a desk all day can create a lot of stiffness in our backs. This isn’t just in the lower back that a lot of people complain about, but a lot of the time it is coming from our thoracic spine (middle of the back) which cops a lot being in the one position all day.

The stiffness in the middle back can cause further problems with our necks, shoulders and can even be contributing to some lower back pain. Weather you are a sportsman that needs to be reaching overhead or rotating to swing a bat or racquet, or a mum bending and lifting your children, you need movement in your middle back.

Another element of this ‘slouched posture’ can commonly be shallow fast breathing. By straightening your spine and opening your chest it allows your main breathing muscle, your diaphragm, to work more efficiently taking deeper, fuller breaths.

As physios we are seeing more and more people coming in with associated back issues which is either causing pain or limiting function, or both! Our backs are made up of so many joints and have so many muscle attachments and our goal is to get more movement in these joints so as all the muscles can function at their optimal abilities.

Our five top exercises to reverse that stiffness:

Thoracic spine extension on the foam roller

Book openings

Thread the needle

Cat Stretch

Superman scapula strengthening

If you have any questions or any niggles please give us a call and book an appointment with one of our physios!