Declutter Your Desk: A Minimalist Approach to Back Pain Relief

Declutter Your Desk: A Minimalist Approach to Back Pain Relief


A cluttered desk can cause physical strain, and be uncomfortable to work with. Ergonomic design is the key to reducing back pain. Let’s look at how to declutter your desk and make it more ergonomic. That way, you can work in a comfortable and efficient way, and get relief from back pain.

To make your desk more ergonomic, consider the following steps:

  1. Eliminate unnecessary items from the surface of your desk.
  2. Organize the items on your desk, and store those you don’t need in drawers.
  3. Make sure your monitor is at the right height.
  4. Adjust your chair so that your feet are flat on the ground.
  5. Position your keyboard and mouse so that your arms and wrists are in a comfortable position.
  6. Add a wrist rest to support your wrists while typing.

Invest in an ergonomic chair

When picking an ergonomic office chair for back pain relief, adjustability is key. Search for a design that allows customization of your sitting. Features like adjustable seat, armrests, and lumbar support are important.

Ergonomic chairs come in various shapes and sizes – from high-end chairs for comfort to basic models with basic adjustments. The best way to pick the best one is to try different models in similar prices. Ask colleagues or check online research to narrow your options when shopping for ergonomic seating solutions.

An ergonomic chair can facilitate proper posture, essential for long work days and preventing pain. Having a comfy seat implies you can stay in one position easily, which decreases discomfort or strain due to switching positions throughout the day. Additionally, consider getting a footrest if possible. This can help improve circulation while sitting at desk height desks, plus provide additional support while typing or writing on papers away from your body. A common problem many deskbound employees face after long periods of sitting in an uncomfortable position.

Adjust your chair height

Your chair’s seat should be lifted up. Feet flat on the ground with legs at a ninety-degree angle. The keyboard and mouse should be at the same level as the desk. Armrests of the chair should be adjustable too. Parallel with a slight bend in your elbows when typing.

To avoid slouching, keep good posture. Shoulder blades pulled back and down away from your ears. If needed, use extra pillows or lumbar support cushions. Make sure the cushion has enough padding. To avoid postural mistakes and discomfort.

Place your monitor at the correct distance

Computer vision syndrome is a real issue, often experienced by office workers. To reduce symptoms, try the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

The distance between you and your monitor depends on its size. For larger monitors, sit back far enough to take in the entire screen with just a few neck swivels. For smaller monitors, sit closer to the display. When you drop your eyes from your monitor to resting position, the entire screen should still be visible.

Use height adjustable chairs and tables to optimise your position. Allow an arm’s length between you and the monitor to avoid hunching over and cutting off blood circulation in wrists.

Desk Space

Desk space is necessary for ergonomic health. Too much clutter can cause physical pains and slow you down. A minimalist approach to desk organizing can help reduce backaches, plus you’ll work better. Let’s discuss this concept more.

Remove unnecessary items

Declutter your desk by removing unnecessary items! This will free up space for the things that you actually use. Plus, your desk will look more inviting.

Start by looking at what’s on your desk. Ask yourself whether you need each item. Items to take away or store away include:

  • Posters/art prints
  • Magazines/books
  • Electronics with cords
  • Office supplies
  • Stationery
  • Novelty knickknacks/souvenirs
  • Any other objects without purpose

Sort out any important documents or paperwork into piles according to priority. Store these piles in designated folders/trays within a drawer. That will keep them organized and ready for future reference.

Utilize vertical storage

Vertical storage can be great for freeing up desk space and reducing clutter. When choosing how to use it, consider drawers, wall shelves, hung organizers, over-desk shelves, hanging files, and cabinets. To make the most of the space and store items efficiently:

  • Find stackable shelves, drawers, or baskets that fit near your workspace.
  • Place wall shelves or cabinets close enough to access items without straining.
  • Avoid large filing cabinets that take up a lot of space.
  • Use dividers for shelves and drawers to organize items.
  • Install wall-hung organizers with pockets or brackets for paper materials.
  • If no wall storage, hanging files are perfect for organizing documents.
  • Invest in vertical modular shelving units for quick access to tools and documents.


Understand how your body posture affects your comfort and health. Poor posture can lead to chronic back pain, neck ache, headaches, limited motion range and other health problems.

Create a neat and ordered workspace to boost your posture and reduce back pain risk. Let’s see how tidying up your desk and bettering your posture can cut the risk of back pain:

  • Organize your desk by removing any unnecessary items.
  • Position your computer monitor at eye level.
  • Keep your elbows and knees at 90-degree angles while sitting.
  • Use a footrest to support your feet.
  • Sit upright and keep your back straight.
  • Take regular breaks to stretch and move around.

Take frequent breaks

It’s essential to take your mind off work and give your eyes, joints, and muscles a break. Set reminders or use software to remind yourself to take breaks.

When you do take a break, make it active. Take a walk, practice good posture while standing or sitting, stretch, or do bodyweight exercises that target specific muscle ranges of motion. This frequent movement strengthens your postural muscles, making them easier to maintain in the best position during everyday use.

Just as you would adjust furniture after sitting for a long time, adjust your posture when you sit at work. Remember these points:

  • Sit up straight and avoid slouching. Your lower back should be supported. When standing, weight should be distributed evenly.
  • Place feet flat on the floor with hip-width apart. When standing, keep your knees slightly bent.
  • If you are working on a laptop, raise the screen to your eye line. Use an external monitor stand.
  • Position elbows close to your body. Keep wrists and hands parallel. This reduces tension on shoulder joint connectors.

Sit up straight

Remember when your parents kept saying “sit up straight“? It may have been annoying, but good posture is important for your overall wellbeing and back pain relief. Sit flush against the chair, engaging your core muscles and keeping your spine straight. Use a comfortable chair with lumbar support and armrests. If needed, add a footrest to keep feet flat on the floor.

Adjust your computer screen so that the center is 10-15 degrees below eye level – this is good for ergonomics and productivity. Finally, avoid extended sitting by taking regular breaks – go outside for some air or simply stand and move around every 30 minutes.

Keep feet flat on the floor

To keep the pain away from desk work, you must have good posture habits. Sitting for long periods of time can cause muscle tension and back pain. To avoid this, set up an ergonomic workspace and find comfortable positions to sit in during the day.

  • Keep both feet on the floor at all times. This distributes your weight and helps circulation in the legs. Make sure there is 4 inches between the back of your knees and the seat of your chair.
  • A comfy chair that supports your body is essential. Adjust it so it evenly supports your spinal curves and upper body weight. Ensure any accessories like keyboards or phones are easily accessible. Otherwise, you may slump forward or strain to reach them.


Exercise is top for avoiding and dealing with back pain. It assists in reducing inflammation, perfecting posture, and reinforcing the muscles that support your back. Here we will explore how precise exercises can diminish back pain as well as share some advice to make your exercise routine better.

Incorporate stretching

Stretching is great for relieving back pain. Just a few minutes a day is all it takes! To start, sit up straight in a chair. Place feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Then, reach arms up to the ceiling. Hold this stretch for 10-15 seconds and focus on relaxing tight shoulders and chest.

For another move, hold yourself around the hips with one arm across each leg. Reach towards feet as far as comfortable for 10-15 seconds. Switch sides after each stretch. Then, take deep breaths to relax. Remember, these moves should feel tension in the tightened areas, not pain. If it’s painful, stop!

Perform strengthening exercises

Do regular back-strengthening exercises for relief from back pain. Fifteen minutes daily helps rebuild and strengthen the muscles that support your spine. Start with these simple moves:

  • Wall slides: Stand against wall, flatten your back. Raise arms above head, palms up. Lower to shoulder height. Hold for 3 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
  • Double knee to chest: Lie on back, bring both knees close to chest. Hold for 3-5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
  • Leg raises: Lie on stomach, chin resting on floor, arms out. Lift one leg 6 inches off ground. Hold for 3-5 seconds then release. Alternate legs 8-10 times.
  • Head turns: Turn head slowly side to side. Avoid sudden twists. Do 8-10 times in each direction several times a day.

Take regular walks

Routine physical activity, apart from your desk and workspace, can help with relieving and avoiding back pain. Make it part of your daily routine for best effects.

A brisk walk of 10-15 minutes each day can keep the muscles in your back and neck supple. This promotes flexibility, thereby preventing back pain. Even if you don’t have much time, multiple short walks throughout the day will still be useful. Doing activities like yoga or swimming that are gentle on the body can also aid in staying limber and reducing back pain.

Mindful Habits

High stress and bad ergonomics are major sources of back pain. Research shows mindful behaviors in the office can lessen such pain. Decluttering is a key part of this.

Get rid of mess. Add a desk lamp. Buy a comfy chair. We’ll explain how minimalistic decluttering and organizing help back pain.

Set reminders to move

Set reminders in your calendar or reminder app. Do it every hour. Get up, take a walk around the office. You’ll feel better.

Also set alarms for mental breaks. Take a minute to focus on breathing. This helps reduce stress from work and life. With regular practice, you can develop the habit of checking in with yourself through breath work. This will bring calm into any situation.

Make use of a standing desk

Want to reduce back pain? Try a standing desk! Studies show that standing can reduce pain, improve posture, and lower risk of medical issues like diabetes. Plus, it boosts energy and productivity.

When setting up your desk, think ergonomics. Adjust the height and size to fit your body’s natural posture. Make sure everything is easy to access and won’t strain your spine.

Take mini-breaks during the day. Stretch and move around every hour or so. This will help avoid negative effects of too much sitting.

Take regular breaks from computer work

Take regular breaks from computer work to maintain a healthy back. Sitting for too long can be bad for your back, neck, and shoulders. Set a timer to remind you to move around for five minutes every hour.

Walk outdoors or climb stairs during break times, if possible. Also, adjust your chair and monitor to a comfortable and aligned position.

Practice mindfulness when working on the computer. Focus on one task without multi-tasking or switching too quickly. Give yourself personal check-ins throughout the day. Ask yourself how you’re feeling emotionally and physically. Take breaks if needed. Be aware of your body’s signals and take care of yourself before pain begins!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is decluttering my desk important for back pain relief?

Having a cluttered desk can force you to sit in awkward positions or strain your body to reach essential items. This can cause ongoing back pain over time.

2. How can I begin to declutter my desk?

Start by removing all unnecessary items from your desk and then organizing the remaining items into designated areas. You may also want to invest in desk organizers or storage containers to help keep everything in order.

3. What should I do with old paperwork or items I no longer need?

You can sell, donate or recycle old paperwork and items you no longer need. This not only helps declutter your workspace, but it also helps reduce waste.

4. How can I maintain a clutter-free desk?

Make it a habit to clean your desk area at the end of each workday. This will help you start each day fresh and prevent clutter from accumulating over time.

5. Can a minimalist approach help reduce back pain at work?

Yes, a minimalist approach to workspaces can greatly reduce back pain by reducing the amount of strain on your body. By decluttering and organizing your desk and work area, you can create a more ergonomic and comfortable environment.

6. Do I need to get rid of all items on my desk?

No, you do not have to get rid of all items on your desk. Instead, focus on removing items that are unnecessary or seldom used. Keep essential items that are used daily or regularly within reach to avoid overstretching or reaching.

the back recovery program by alex larsson
Jane Smith is a natural health enthusiast on a mission to uncover effective methods for achieving pain-free living. Through her personal journey with chronic back pain, she has become well-versed in holistic approaches such as yoga, Pilates, and essential oils.

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