Body Expert advice

5 Common Mistakes We Make While Sitting & Working

Leandi Van Zyl

Lead - Sport Science / Strength & Conditioning Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital

2 min read


Forward chin position

While working from home and at the office we tend to lean into our computers to see our screen better. This leads to tense neck muscles that can cause headaches and neck pain.

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Rounded upper back position

When working on our computers or sitting at our desks we tend to round our upper back because of a poor desk position. This leads to problems like tight pectoral/ chest muscles, stretched/ lengthened upper back muscles and an immobile thoracic spine. This posture can also lead to headaches or upper back pain.


Elbows higher or lower than the table and computer

If your elbows are higher than the table it will cause UR shoulders to be elevated and tense the shoulder and neck muscles. If the table and laptop is lower than your elbows, UR neck and upper back will compensate for this. Both will cause headaches or pain in the neck and shoulders.


Posterior pelvic tilt/rounded lower back position

A rounded lower back (posterior tilt) will lead to back pain and cause further dysfunction in the upper back region. This position also keeps the spine away from the back rest or the chair which serves as support for the back.


Leg position

When UR legs stretch too far out it changes the position of the spine and pelvis and UR body moves away from the back rest. If UR feet are in the air or on the seat – it negatively impacts posture and can lead to upper and lower back pain.

5 Easy Steps to Improve Chair Posture
  1. Keep the computer at eye level by elevating it on a stack of books or a box or elevating UR desk chair. Make sure head is in line with UR spine.
  2. Keep UR upper back straight and leaning against the back rest of the chair.
  3. your elbows should be in line with the keyboard and table; adjusting the chair and using a chair with arm rests can be helpful.
  4. The best position for the lumbar spine while sitting is for the pelvis to be neutral. This means a slightly arched lower back. The spine should also be straight instead of leaning forward or back. The entire spine should be rested back against the back rest of the chair and the lower back should be slightly arched.
  5. Feet should be positioned under the knees or slightly ahead of the knees, to ensure the back is resting against the back of the chair.

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