| 12.8°C Dublin

Watch your back in the office: How to take care of your spine

SITTING at a PC for hours a day can wreak havoc on your back, but these simple strategies from charity Back Care will save you a fortune in osteopaths’ bills.

Chair / Desk

Make sure your feet are flat on the floor and your upper leg is horizontal. The back rest of your chair should support your lower back. Your desk height should be just below your elbows when they’re at 90°. Ask your HR department for an ergonomic assessment.


The top of your screen should be at eye level and an arm’s length away. When you’re typing, the keyboard should be placed so your shoulders are relaxed, elbows at 90° and wrists straight. Don’t over use your laptop — hook up an external mouse/keyboard.

Take breaks

Move regularly to avoid muscles becoming tight. See www.backcare.org.uk for officebased stretches and exercises.

Tackle stress

Stress is a back’s worst enemy because it leads to tense, rigid muscles, as are long periods of repetitive work. If you have a history of back pain it’s vital that you avoid long working hours — tell unsympathetic bosses that sensible working hours avoid far more time wasted on sick leave.