Ergonomics, Posture, and the Use of a Standing Desk

In this video Ruth Kaplan, Physical Therapist and Owner of Progression Physical Therapy in Princeton New Jersey, demonstrates ergonomics, posture, and the use of a standing desk.

In today’s society, we get ourselves into situations where we are sitting sustained for long periods of time, such as work or driving, and one of the things that happens is back muscle strain, whether it be your neck, your mid-back, or your low back.

At Progression Physical Therapy, we promote stacked posture. Whether you are sitting or standing, you want to stack your muscles to alleviate as much strain on them throughout the day as possible. The way you do that is to slide your chin back, squeeze your shoulder blades downward and backward, and try not to elevate the upper traps or shoulders. The use of a lumbar roll is beneficial. In the small of the back, slide all the way back, and it helps to maintain this nice arch that we’re supposed to have throughout our day.

When you are typing, the use of standing desk prevents a sustained posture, so what you want to do is spend about 30 minutes in the sitting position, and then what you’re going to do is to come on up, raise your standing desk, pull out your elevation that you are going to use to alleviate yet another sustained posture. So you put your foot up onto your elevation. It can be two books, it can be this thick, about anything that you want. And you put one foot up on it, and then you type, type, type. Five minutes later, switch, type, type, type. Spend about 30 minutes here, you still have to do that chin slide, shoulder blade squeeze to stack your muscles and your joints, and after 30 minutes, go back to the sitting position.

Basically, a stacked posture will help to alleviate pain at the end of the day from muscle overuse. As a physical therapist, I can work on you all day with manual stretching and strengthening, but if you spend a full day sitting in poor posture or poor ergonomics in a sustained position, it’s all for naught, and your pain relief won’t be as great. ~ Ruth Kaplan, PT, DPT