Working from home? Check your desk posture!

2nd July 2021


Question: I have been working from home over the last 6 weeks and have been experiencing a bit of neck pain. However, over the last week I have started to experience headaches and they are of increasing intensity, especially with prolonged sitting. Are my headaches associated with my posture while I’m working?

Working from home can have its challenges. Sitting at a desk/table or chair that is not ergonomic can cause poor neck posture which may be contributing to your headache. Here are some tips in help managing your headache and pain. 

1.  Keep moving!

If you tend to sit in one position for more than 20-30 minutes, change your position and move! Little things such as rolling your shoulders, rotating your head, stretching your arms up and even going from sitting to standing will keep your neck much happier. 

2.  Stop slouching 

Sitting in a slumped position puts excessive stress on your ligaments, muscles and joints. Fixing your posture is simple - elongate your spine by visualizing a string attached to the top of your head that pulls you vertically up. Then pinch your shoulder blades back and tuck your chin slightly. 

Sometimes visualizing your position in the mirror can really surprise you. What may feel like a straight posture may not look like straight posture! Remember to relax the top of your shoulders. and ensure your feet are flat on the ground. Practice makes perfect. 

3. Use a lumbar roll

Many chairs come with lumbar support. Having said that, nothing beats the old ‘rolled up towel’ in the small of your back. This is possibly the best tactile method of reminding you of good posture. By improving your lumbar posture, it can inadvertently improve your upper body and neck posture.

Lumbar rolls are a practical alternative to a towel and can be easily used in your car seat as well. You can purchase these at physiotherapy clinics. 

4. Check your ergonomics 

If you know an expert who can help with your workplace setup, ask for their advice. Things to look out for include: chair height and back support, computer screen height, keyboard and mouse position and distance from your desk to chair. Try to make some the following adjustments to ensure your workstation is fitted to you (see picture below).

5. Stretching

This is a great way of relieving any tension you develop during a long day. Stretches such as ‘cat/cow’ or lying on your back with a foam roller are great ways to open your back moving.  For best results, consult your physiotherapist for advice.

6. Start exercising

We all know the benefits of exercising for our heart and weight but your back and neck will thank you too! Daily walking is a great start. 

7. Clinical Pilates

This magical word may well turn out to be your guardian angel! A fantastic way of improving your posture, body awareness and control, as well as getting the right muscles doing the right thing! You will notice the difference immediately. 


By Olivia Yin, APA Physiotherapist (Point Cook)

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