The order of these steps assume that your desk is immovable, and you have the ability to either move your chair up and down or select a different chair. Also – this is only one view! If what you’re doing now works for you and you’re not in pain, don’t mess with it. Also, as with all internet advice, this won’t be applicable for 100% of people – in that case, the best thing to do is have someone look at you at your station (see #10).
Try looking at your set-up in this order and see if you can get some relief:
2. Adjust your seat height for optimal wrist position. Our wrists were designed to be in slight extension for our fingers to work most efficiently. Your height relative to your keyboard and the shape of the keyboard will affect this. The flat laptop keyboard puts many people’s wrists flat or in too much flexion (palm toward forearm - 2a, 2b) which can lead to problems over time. If you do most of your work on a laptop, consider a separate USB keyboard and/or docking station. If that’s not an option, try to keep the heels of your hands a comfortable distance from the keys so that there’s a gentle dome under your hands (2c). Sometimes adjustable keyboard trays are a nice solution, but you have to take the scapula (next) into consideration.
7. How does your back feel? Does it feel easy to sit up tall or does it feel like your spine is having to work too hard? Does it feel slouched? Does it feel overextended? Or does it feel just right? You can try rolling backwards and forward on your sit bones to find your best neutral pelvis position that will align your spine with gravity. Think about the pelvis like a bowl and you’re spilling it backward (7a) and forward (7b) until you settle in on what feels balanced and the least amount of effort to hold you up (7c). You can try this little trick periodically throughout the day to move a bit and make sure you’re still in that neutral gravity aligned position.
10. Get professional help. Have you tried everything and you’re still having problems? Think your 6-16 hours a day of sitting may be contributing to your pain? (Maybe I’m a bit biased but…) A qualified physical therapist is a great option to look at both your ergonomic set-up for injury prevention purposes and/or as an adjunct to caring for an existing pain complaint or injury. Contact me for an inexpensive customized ergonomic evaluation via Skype, Facetime or email photos.