Tom Godwin


Written By

Tom Godwin


General Fitness

Posted On

30 October 2015

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Being desk based is a common feature of many jobs in the UK. The stresses that result from being in a seated position have long been discussed but have recently been gathering some weight. The use of the prolonged seated position, particularly if posture is deviated, is a key factor in the development of low back pain. The discussion and education regarding how to safely and effectively sit at a desk (sounds like it should be simple … and it is once you know how) has a great effect on helping to reduce incidences of low back pain

So what is ergonomics then? Simply defined, it is the study of efficiency in the working environment. There is also an emphasis placed on the physical stresses placed on the body when carrying out various tasks. In this case we are looking at how to efficiently sit on a chair and operate at a desk. The key factors that are considered include:

  • The body’s working position
  • The specifics of the task involved
  • The design and layout of the furniture

The position of equipment such as computers and telephones

Many companies as part of their corporate well-being scheme deliver advice on desk-based and standing ergonomics. On many occasions this is delivered by appropriately qualified Level 4 Low Back Pain personal trainers.

So we shall look a little more at the specifics of the key factors when setting up your desk for minimal risk of low back pain, altered posture and musculoskeletal dysfunction.

To set your desk up correctly, you should ensure that:

  • The chair is set to a height where thighs are parallel to the floor
  • You sit against the back rest, with the back straight
  • While working, the elbows are in a comfortable position, close to the body
  • Elbows and hips are at 90–120 degrees
  • When using a monitor, the top of the computer screen is at eye level

More generally, it is recommended that you sit in a comfortable and supported position and that every hour you get up, have a little wander around the office and, where possible, stretch.

What you are trying to avoid is the following body positions being observed as the day goes on.

A little time spent considering how you sit at your desk can pay massive dividends when it comes to the avoidance of low back pain and general aches and pains.

Go check your desk now!

Tom Godwin (@TomForesight) has been involved in the fitness industry for over 18 years and has been involved with personal training, business/career development and corrective exercise. He is currently involved in personal trainer education as a tutor, assessor and course developer for Fitness Industry Education.

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  • Written By

    Hazel Goudie


    General Fitness

    Posted On

    12 December 2014

    The Prevalence of Low Back Pain in the UK Low back pain is one of the most common non-life threatening health problems in the UK. It not only creates a huge personal inconvenience and hindrance to individuals, but it also affects the UK financially and as a national community. According to a survey published back in 2000, almost half of the adult population in the UK reported occurrences of low back pain lasting for a minimum of 24 hours during the year. Two further reviews were conducted, one of which focused on the elderly and the other on adolescents, both of which identified high numbers of these populations suffering with low back pain. It appears from the research that the number of people with back pain increases with advancing age, starting in school children and peaking in adults of 35 to 55 years. Additional findings suggested that back pain was just as common in adolescents as in adults. From these studies it can therefore be estimated that four out of every five adults will experience some form of back pain at some stage in their life. It can therefore be predicted that in industrialised countries such as the UK, up to 80% of the population will suffer with back pain at some stage in their life.