Penrose Physical Therapy
Dec 2020
Jennifer Penrose
Jennifer Penrose

Do you work in an office based job? Or are you one of the thousands who are now working from home? As a result, do you find yourself struggling with neck, shoulder or back pain after sitting for long periods of time? Well there is a solution to create a more healthy and comfortable working environment for you, to not have to put up with annoying aches and pains.

Let’s start at the bottom with your ankles… Research suggests your ankles should be supported via a foot rest keeping the ankle joints at just over a 90 degree angle. The same rule applies to your knees, keep them slightly at over 90 degree angles with at least 80- 90% of your thighs supported on your seat parallel to the floor. Basically, at all time your feet are planted firmly on the floor and you’re not sitting in a twisted position – which I know can be easy to do after sitting for hours without regular breaks!

Your Lower Back

Moving on to those troublesome lower backs… A lot of us are guilty of having poor sitting posture – slouching in our chairs at work. This creates extra unnecessary stresses through our spine and the soft tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments) that support our spine and body! To avoid this extra stress it’s important to ensure that your butt is touching the back of the chair. So get your wiggle on and shuffle right to the back of your chair, don’t be worried if your feet come off the floor. This is where the foot support will be ideal and come in handy. To reduce lower back pain, try using a lumbar support! They can be purchased cheaply or made by rolling up a towel and placing it on your lower back. It will help straighten up your posture and help say goodbye to aches in your lower back.

Now we have a good back posture, let’s take care of those painful necks and shoulders… Do you spend most of your day on the phone at work? Here’s a tip – use a head set to avoid your typical hunched over neck and shoulder phone position. This keeps your neck free and loose. What about if you’re spending long hours on the computer, or using a laptop? Just like your legs, it is also important to support your arms. Use arm rests which should be just higher than the level of your desk. This should keep the elbows at just over 90 degrees and the elbows level with your keyboard.

Where to position your wrists

The use of a simple wrist support should also be applied as you are typing away. The support will keep your elbow level with your keyboard. Most importantly for your neck is the height and positioning of your computer screen. The top of your monitor should be directly at eye level. Make sure it is straight ahead of you so you are not twisting your neck and leaning it forward. If you work from a laptop, get a laptop riser to bring the screen up to your eye level. Using an external keyboard and mouse can help avoid any issues caused by raising your screen. More importantly, it keeps your elbows and wrists in the correct position.

If you are still struggling and find it hard to relieve your pain, take a hot water bottle, or a microwaveable wheat back to work with you and apply for 20 minute periods throughout the day. I hope you guys have found this information beneficial and that it helps you in your daily working life, but do remember movement is a must.

So whether it’s simple stretches and movements while you are sitting or getting up to fill your hot water bottle, take regular periods to get moving or stretching to avoid seizing up! If you’re unsure about what stretches you can do, you can call our office at (360)-456-1444 or email and ask our team for some help. That’s it from me this week, I’ll be back with more on back pain for you next week, have a great week!


Stay Healthy South Sound – Episode 19

In this episode of Stay Healthy South Sound Dr. Penrose interviews Dr. Thomas Griffith – a Doctor of Naturopathy. With the ever-changing landscape of healthcare today there has been a growing growing question: “Where does a more natural solution come in?”

Well, Dr. Griffith is here to answer questions like that and help explain the role of a naturopathic physician in today’s healthcare field. Additionally, he provides insight into how you as the patient can benefit from naturopathic care and when it is applicable to your current situation. You won’t want to miss this one!


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