How Small Workstation Changes Can Alleviate Back Pain

How Small Workstation Changes Can Alleviate Back Pain


When it comes to combating back pain, the major issue of office workers, making small adjustments to your desk setup can have a large effect. Like, raising your monitor to the level of your eyes or rearranging chairs and desks for a more comfy position.

To show how these small changes can increase comfort, this article will describe ergonomics. It will explain which ergonomic furniture pieces are good for different workspace setups, and how they help with preventing and managing back pain. Instructions on how to make these changes will be included. Lastly, advice on lessening physical strain with proper posture and lifting techniques will be suggested.

The Impact of Poor Ergonomics

Ergonomics in a work environment cause back pain, neck pain, and musculoskeletal disorders. This is especially true for small workstations. Making changes to your workstation can benefit your posture and well-being.

Here’s how small changes help relieve back pain:

Poor Posture

Poor posture can cause and result from back and musculoskeletal issues. Therefore, good posture is vital for avoiding and reducing pain. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) states that “Inappropriate ergonomics – keyboard too near or far, monitor too high or low, chair doesn’t recline – can lead to postural stress on the body, causing distress and potential injury.”

The most frequent sources of poor workplace posture include:

  • Unsuitable or inappropriately-sized furniture.
  • Lack of support for the feet or back.
  • Wrongly adjusted chairs.
  • No movement from sitting all day.

When used with right ergonomic practices such as standing up from your desk every now and then, minor changes such as altering computer monitor heights and providing enough footrests can have a long-term beneficial effect on your comfort level at work.

Repetitive Strain Injury

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a major issue, often caused by extreme sitting and bad ergonomics. It can bring pain and discomfort in the back, neck, arms and wrists. Fortunately, there are several simple techniques to help.

Computer use is one big source of RSI – mice, keyboards, laptops and smartphones can lead to irritation. To reduce this risk, be mindful of your workstation habits. Get an adjustable chair with good lumbar support and buy a neck pillow or other comfort device. Take breaks and stretch your arms and legs.

Invest in non-traditional options to improve your workstation.

  • Standing desks let you switch between standing and sitting.
  • Adjustable keyboard trays let you adjust the height and angle of your keyboard and mouse pad.
  • Footrests give you better knee angles while seated.
  • Wrist rests support arms and wrists.
  • Anti-glare monitors help your eyes when looking at a screen for long periods.
  • Most monitor arms have tension control mechanisms to help you move from one task to another.

Making small changes to your workstation can reduce muscle strain and lessen tension headaches and neck soreness caused by bad ergonomics. Make sure your home office is comfortable for long-term use.

Eye Strain

Eye strain is common for those who work at a computer for long periods. Poor ergonomics can worsen the symptoms, causing headaches and difficulty focusing. To stay comfortable and safe, consider making changes to your workspace.

Adjusting monitor settings can help reduce eye strain. Increase font sizes, contrast levels, and color temperature between 5000K-6500K. Lower blue light output and adjust gamma settings. Consider using larger monitors so you don’t have to scroll.

Your monitor should be placed directly in front of you, at eye level. Avoid bias towards one side of your face or direct sunlight. Make sure other objects aren’t crowding your view. Pause every hour and look away from the screen. Focus on distant objects like trees or buildings for at least 20 seconds. This relaxes the muscles used for keeping them open while staring at a computer.

Simple Steps to Improve Ergonomics

Spending hours at your workstation? Ouch! This can lead to back and neck pain in the long run. Set up your workstation ergonomically to reduce the risk of health issues. Here are some steps to help:

  1. Adjust desk and chair to suit you.
  2. Make small tweaks for extra comfort.
  3. Enjoy working with less discomfort.

Adjust the Chair

The chair should fit your body measurements and support your lower back. Sit upright without a pillow or folder. Feet should rest flat on the floor or use a footrest. Adjustable chairs are great for long hours of sitting.

Ideally, let arms rest parallel to the floor when typing on keyboard. Armrests should support elbows. Low-back chairs have lumbar support built in. Can add a back cushion for more support.

An ergonomic chair that’s adjustable increases comfort and work productivity. Posture and alignment will be better when doing computer tasks and activities.

Adjust the Keyboard and Mouse

Adjusting your keyboard and mouse is easy. Place the keyboard so your wrists are in line with your forearm – no bending or extending. Put the mouse near the keyboard, and move it based on your dominant hand.

The height of your keyboard and mouse is important. Keep elbows close to your body, forming an approximate right angle. To do this, use a height adjustable desk. Don’t overextend: move the chair closer to the items. If you use a wrist rest, keep it slanted downward. This will provide support and prevent strain.

Adjust the Monitor

Monitor height is key to avoiding back and neck pain. The top of your screen should be at eye level, 24-36 inches away. If you wear bifocals, you may need to raise it further. To check if it’s the right distance, rest your wrists and hands lightly on the keyboard, with your elbows and forearms at 90-degree angles.

Adjust the monitor according to your height. Tilt the monitor back 10-20 degrees to reduce light reflections and glares, while helping your neck and spinal alignment. Use an adjustable monitor arm or stand. Secure any cables to prevent obstruction.

Take Regular Breaks

Take breaks every 30 minutes. This helps your workspace be ergonomically sound. Avoid staying for long periods of time in the same position. It can lead to neck, shoulder and back pain.

Take short (2-3 minutes) walks or stretching breaks. This lubricates your joints and protects your muscles from strain. Avoid staying sedentary. Get up from your workstation often. This is the best way to manage any potential ergonomic issues that may arise from prolonged sitting or working in uncomfortable positions.


Back pain is common; not just related to desks and office chairs, but also with sedentary jobs. Good news: some simple adjustments can help!

  • Take regular breaks, use ergonomic tools, and set up your workstation optimally.
  • Posture advice, environmental modifications, lumbar support tools – all can make a difference in reducing discomfort.
  • Workplace wellness is a matter of personal preference. Follow the guidelines and use other safety measures, like proper lifting techniques.

Making small changes takes time, but it’s worth it – for your current job, and future endeavors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What causes back pain at workstations?

A: Back pain can be caused by a number of factors such as poor posture, long periods of sitting, repetitive motions, and inadequate workstation setup.

Q: Can small changes in workstation setup help alleviate back pain?

A: Yes, making small changes such as adjusting the height of your chair or monitor, using a lumbar support cushion, and taking frequent breaks can be very effective in reducing or preventing back pain.

Q: How often should I take breaks to alleviate back pain?

A: It is recommended to take a break and move around every 30 minutes to prevent stiffness and pain. Additionally, stretching and doing back exercises can also be helpful.

Q: What kind of chair is best for preventing back pain?

A: A chair with good support for the lower back, adjustable height, and armrests can help prevent and alleviate back pain. It is important to have your feet flat on the ground and knees at a 90-degree angle.

Q: Should I use a standing desk to prevent back pain?

A: Standing desks can be beneficial for some people, but it is important to rotate between sitting and standing to prevent fatigue and muscle strain. It is also important to adjust the desk and monitor to the appropriate height for comfortable use.

Q: When should I see a doctor for back pain related to my workstation?

A: If your back pain persists despite making adjustments to your workstation, it is important to see a doctor. Additionally, if you experience symptoms such as numbness, tingling, difficulty moving, or loss of bladder/bowel control, seek medical attention immediately.

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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