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This Is Why Desk Height Matters For Your Posture

Do you suffer from neck or back pain, headaches, or fatigue? Are your concentration levels and productivity not as good as you wish they were? The desk you use may be to blame. 

It’s easy to overlook the importance of your workplace setup. This may be particularly true if your desk is in a company office, for example, or in today’s era of remote working. However, having an ergonomic work area is fundamental and can influence countless aspects of your life.  

There are several factors to consider when assessing your desk set up, such as your chair, what your feet rest on, and the position of your computer. One of the most crucial elements is the height of your desktop, yet this is often not taken on board when creating a work area. Ensuring your desk is at the correct ergonomic height can set you up for success. 

Our physiotherapists are committed to helping you build the foundations and work towards improving and preventing issues born out of inadequate work settings. If you are asking yourself how high should a desk be, read on to find out more.


Why Does The Height Of A Desk Matter? 

Many of us are stationed at our desks for long periods of time every day. This may involve doing an array of activities, such as using an electronic device like a computer or tablet, writing in a notebook, or undertaking hobbies like painting or crafts. However, the human body did not develop to be in such positions frequently or in a prolonged manner, so it’s understandable when it begins to complain. That is why it is so important to improve any factors that are lacking, such as the height of your desk.  

Desk height impacts the angle you hold your arms at when typing or writing, which in turn puts your shoulders, neck, and spine into certain positions. The height also determines the position of certain items on your desk, such as your computer monitor, which in turn impacts the alignment of your eyes, chin, neck, and shoulders. 

When you use a desk that is at an incorrect height for you, certain body parts can go out of alignment, such as your legs and wrists. Not only can this affect those areas, but it can cause referred issues. The fall out can be acute or can lead to long lasting or permanent problems.  

Furthermore, if your desk is at the incorrect height, you may be tempted to adjust other elements, such as your chair or computer screen, which may compound the issue.


What Should My Posture Be At My Desk? 

Because we come in different shapes and sizes and have a variety of underlying factors to consider, such as health conditions, it is unrealistic to expect all desks to cater for everyone in a standardised manner. The problem is that your desk height should be based on your height and what you use the desk for.  

When you sit at your desk, your feet should be flat on the floor or on an adjustable footrest, and your thighs should be at right angles with your back. Your knees should be level with your hips or slightly lower. There should be a comfortable distance between the top of your thighs and the desk. Your arms should be at right angles at your sides. 

If a one size fits all approach is taken, this position would look a lot different for a short person to that of a tall person. In fact, the standard desk height, which is between 73 and 80 centimetres, is actually best suited for someone over 180 centimetres tall, which is far above the average height!


Can I Make The Height Of My Desk Suitable For Me? 

It may seem a big ask to find a way to achieve the ideal desk height if the standard desk is not appropriate for many people. There are some companies that provide adjustable desks, which can be highly beneficial. One approach that has become particularly popular recently involves a standing desk. These can be adjusted according to the height of the surface you place it on and your height. If you have a desk and cannot change the height or invest in a new one, making adjustments and additions can be useful, such as using a footrest so that your feet are not dangling, an ergonomic chair or cushion, adjustable computer stands, or elbow rests. 

If you require advice on how to set up your workspace, please chat to us about this in your appointment with our physios. We can help to improve your body alignment and functionality and decrease pain through various physio techniques, but we do love when prevention can be put in place instead of needing a cure!



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Northern Districts Physiotherapy

Northern Districts Physiotherapy & Sports Clinic was established in 1995 and consists of an energetic team of highly qualified and experienced professionals who take the time to understand ...


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