Office Ergonomics

I am constantly surprised at the lack of standardisation of evidence based ergonomic advice across the public service and private sectors.

As a city CBD physio for the past few years I see many people presenting with work related issues.

Most of the time just by looking at them I can tell how they sit at their desks.

When I ask them how they think they should be sitting the vast majority say “with a straight back”.

Where is this misinformation coming from? – often office guidelines.

Consequences of sitting with a straight back:

  • Gravity pushes downwards on the body forcing it to slump
    • The thoracic and lumbar spine curves forward causing the chin to “poke” forwards causing increased compression and shearing loads on the neck and the lower back discs to stretch.
    • Alternatively, the muscles of the spine work overtime in an effort to maintain an upright posture – causing what is termed rigidity of the spine – tight, overactive muscles causing increased compression especially of the thoracic spine.

Evidence based correct sitting:

  • Back of chair tilted about 10 degrees
  • Lumbar support in the lumbar spine – not the pelvis
  • Chair close to the desk so that the arms are able to be kept at the side of the body- not reaching forward
  • Forearm either horizontal or slightly sloping down so that the neck muscles don’t tighten up
  • Feet resting on a stool or floor depending on height of person and comfort

Think Gold Class at the movies or a lazyboy chair.

Corrections should feel comfortable and relaxed.


70 Mary St and 245 Albert St Brisbane 4000