Diocese of Carlisle


Are you sitting comfortably?

  • There are likely to be a number of contributory factors for back or neck pain and it would be wrong just to think it’s only to do with the chair we are sitting in.
  • The HSE workstation assessment tool has sensible advice for all of us to attend to - https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ck1.pdf.
  • Take care to set up your keyboard, mouse and screen so that it is carefully aligned with your sitting position is important so you are facing the screen and keyboard at right angles rather than being at a slight angle.
  • Rest your wrists either on the desk in front of the keyboard or on the keyboard when typing so that everything proximal to the wrists is in a neutral relaxed position with the back and neck upright and your eyes at the level of the top of the screen.
  • Avoid using a laptop by itself; much better to use an external keyboard and prop up your laptop screen or an external screen and use the laptop keyboard.
  • Follow sensible ergonomic measures such as micro-breaks of 2-3 minutes from your desk every hour to get up and stretch before returning to your chair, packaging work into manageable chunks, reviewing your posture while seated at the desk at regular intervals during the day and to keep physically active during the day e.g. getting some exercise during your lunch break.
  • Take regular physical exercise – many people have physical exercise e.g. walking and/or going up and down stairs built into their day of work in the office and so are more sedentary when working from home.
  • Attend to all healthy lifestyle measures to ensure you are at an optimum weight etc.
  • Remember that stressors cause an increase in muscle tone in your back and neck and can lead to pain in the upper back and neck so pursue measures known as de-stressors such as physical exercise, healthy eating, relaxation exercises, keeping to a minimum caffeine and alcohol intake and scheduling in times for R and R to recharge your emotional batteries.
  • Finally see what can be down about your chair. If it is not a fully adjustable office chair then see what can be done to improve what is available e.g. roll up a towel or cushion to attach to the back of the chair to accentuate the lumbar curve in order to promote an upright back with normal lumbar lordosis.