Desk ergonomics and posture

 Those pesky little work stations. The place where you can spend upwards of 8hrs of your day at! Apart from maybe your bed I cant think of another place that you spend that much time at. With that amount of time invested in being there it’s pretty important that we get the setup of that right. We commonly see the desk setup being a contributing factor to a variety of complaints from headaches and neck pain to low back pain/stiffness, even your wrists and forearms can suffer from repetitive strain complaints. When we are looking at the desk setup there is a couple of things we can consider.

Regular Breaks

This first one is the big one. Our bodies were not designed to do the same thing for an extended period of time. They were designed to move and be fluid in their environment. That’s why we can walk on 2 feet. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people sit at their desk the whole day without moving and then also have lunch at their desk. Your body needs a break! Not only will getting up and moving away from you desk give your body some movement that it craves it will also give you a mental break from work so that when you come back you’ll be more productive. For people that are struggling with this, I encourage them to set a reoccurring alarm on their computer or phone that goes off every 45-60mins. That way they are getting the reminder to get up and move away from their desk. It doesn’t need to be for long, it might be to get a glass of water, to go the toilet or even to stand up whilst taking a phone call. It’s just about moving.

Stand up Vs Sit down desk

Stand up desks seem to be all the rage at the moment. In theory the stand up desk sounds like it will solve all the problems associated with the desk posture. In reality thats not the case. The same problems can arise from spending the entire time standing at the desk. It comes back to movement and variety in your day. Ideally what you would want to be doing with the stand up desk is changing from seated to standing periodically so that you’re not getting those lack of movement related problems. The one thing that I really do like about the stand up desks is that if you do have it upright you are more likely to move and walk around then you are if your seated. 


Now there are things you can do to minimise the amount of strain put on your bed whilst your at your desk and we will run through some of these now. 

  • Eyes in line with top third of the monitor
  • Elbows just above desk
  • Keyboard and mouse in a neutral position
  • Sitting upright and supported at 100-120 degrees 
  • Knees below hips

If you feel that your desk posture is contributing to your presenting complaint mention it to your Osteopath so that they can go through more in-depth and specific desk advice for you.

Blog by Lachlan Cossens, Osteopath at McKinnon Osteopathy. Lachlan sits on a 45 degree angle to his desk and gets up from his chair every 15mins.

To book an appointment with Lachlan Click here or call on 9578 2436






  1. Williams, H. (2017). Physical Ergonomics and Risk Indicators within an Office Workplace.
  2. (2017). Ergonomics and Workspace. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 May 2018].

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