Working the nine to five, many of us spend the majority of the day trapped behind a desk and staring at a computer. That’s about forty hours a week sitting, and without the proper posture, it can cause major back pain. Problem is, between meetings, deadlines, and endless emails, sitting up straight isn’t the first thing on many of our minds during the workday. These four tips will help you remember to readjust and realign your spine, so when it’s finally time to go home your back and neck won’t be aching.

  1. Set a timer – without mom reminding us to sit up straight, a lot of us tend to slouch. A simple solution is setting a timer. This could be done on your phone, a browser based timer, or even the scheduler on your computer. Set reminders, maybe starting at every twenty minutes, with a phrase such as “sit up.” Each time the alarm goes off you will be reminded to check your posture and adjust.
  2. Visual reminders – using a visual to remind you to sit up straight can be as easy as sticking a post-it note with “posture” on your workspace. Just stick it somewhere you know you will frequently see it.
  3. Adjust your work space – we all have been guilty of hunching over our desk to better see our monitor or looking down at our phones, this leads to forward head posture, (also see text neck post) a condition where the cervical spine adopts a forward-leaning misalignment and can cause mild to severe neck and upper back pain.
    • To prevent leaning forward at your workstation, make adjustments to your screens and chair. You want your screen, whether it be a desktop, laptop, or tablet, to be eye level.
    • For laptops and tablets, you might want to invest in stands.
    • Additionally, adjust the height of your chair. Keep your back flush with the back of the chair, and your stomach close to the edge of the desk. Your hips should be higher than your knees, and the armrests should be able to slide right under the desk while your forearms rest comfortably on top.
  4. Move around – make sure to get up and move around. Sitting in the same position for a prolonged time weighs on the body and causes stiff, tired muscles and an aching back and neck. Basic stretches can help – for example, raising each knee to your chest for thirty seconds can help relieve lower back pain. Experts suggest taking this type of break every twenty to thirty minutes.