Spine Disorders

Spine Ergonomics

"To prevent back-pain and to improve the health of your spine.... ergonomics has a role to play."

In doing so we need to.....

  • Correct the way we Sit and stand
  • Learn to lift correctly
  • Exercise regularly (Individual specific)
  • Don ’t stress your low back by lifting heavy items, doing strenuous sport, and prolonged persistent activity.
  • Attain and Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
  • Eat Healthy (A well-balanced, Low-fat diet rich in fruits and Vegetables)
  • Stop Smoking
  • Avoid Excessive use of Alcohol
  • Get Plenty of Rest

Most of us abuse our backs, without ‘servicing’ it!


  • Sit as little as possible and only for short periods of time (10 to 15 minutes).
  • Sit with a back support (such as a rolled-up towel) placed at the hollow of your back.
  • Keep your hips and knees at a right angle (use a foot rest or stool if necessary). Your legs should not be crossed and your feet should be flat on the floor.
  • Sit in a high-back chair with arm rests. Sitting in a soft couch or chair will tend to make you round your back and won't support the hollow of your back.
  • At work, adjust your chair height and workstation so you can sit up close to your work and tilt it up at you. Rest your elbows and arms on your chair or desk, keeping your shoulders relaxed.
  • When sitting in a chair that rolls and pivots, don't twist at the waist while sitting. Instead, turn your whole body.
  • When standing up from the sitting position, move to the front of the seat of your chair. Stand up by straightening your legs. Avoid bending forward at your waist. Immediately stretch your back by doing 10 standing backbends.

Advice on sitting posture
Beware of the unsupported lumbar spine!


  • Use a back support (lumbar roll) while sitting or driving in the car.
  • Move the seat close to the steering wheel to support the hollow of your back.


  • Stand with your head up, shoulders straight, chest forward, weight balanced evenly on both feet and your hips tucked in.
  • Avoid standing in the same position for a long time.
  • If possible, adjust the height of the work table to a comfortable level.
  • When standing, try to elevate one foot by resting it on a stool or box. After several minutes, switch your foot position.

Stooping, Squatting and Kneeling

Decide which position to use. Kneel when you have to go down as far as a squat but need to stay that way for awhile. For each of these positions, face the object, keep your feet apart, tighten your stomach muscles and lower yourself using your legs.

Ergonomics in Computer Users

How will the computer be used?
  • Who will be using the computer? If it's going to be used by several people, you will need to create an arrangement that most closely satisfies the needs of ALL.
  • How long will people be using the computer? If it's more than 1 hour per day you should create an ergonomic arrangement. If it's more than 4 hours then you should consider implementing an ergonomic arrangement.
What kind of computer will be used?
  • Desktops - Most ergonomic guidelines for computer workstation arrangements assume that you will be using a desktop system where the computer screen is separate from the keyboard.
  • Laptops - Laptops are great for short periods of work. For sustained use you should consider purchasing either:
    • An external monitor
    • An external keyboard
    • A docking station.

What furniture will you use?


Tilt seat forwards or level according to comfort or medical requirement.

  • Adjust seat height so hip joint is slightly higher than knee joint.
Desk height

Middle row of the keyboard should be level with the elbow, (forearms parallel to the floor). If the desk is too low raise with desk feet, if too high use a foot stand and raise seat height. Place mouse in easy reach zone by keyboard.

What chair will be used?

Choose a comfortable chair for the user to sit in. Studies show that the best seated posture is a reclined posture of 100-110 degrees NOT the upright 90 degree posture that. is often portrayed

The computer monitor should be placed:

  • Directly in front of you and facing you not angled to the left or right.
  • Center the monitor on the user so that the body and/or neck isn't twisted when looking at the screen.
  • Put the monitor at a comfortable height User's eyes should be in line with a point on the screen about 2-3" below the top of the monitor casing. The best position for a computer monitor is for the center of the screen to be at around 17.5 degrees below eye level.
  • Viewing distance - usually around an arms length (sit back in your chair and raise your arm and your fingers should touch the screen).

Good posture is the basis of good workstation ergonomics. Good posture is the best way to avoid a computer-related injury. To ensure good user posture:

Watch the user's posture!

  • Make sure that the user can reach the keyboard keys with their wrists as flat as possible (not bent up or down) and straight (not bent left or right).
  • Make sure that the user's elbow angle (the angle between the inner surface of the upper arm and the forearm) is at or greater than 90 degrees to avoid nerve compression at the elbow.
  • Make sure that the upper arm and elbow are as close to the body and as relaxed as possible for mouse use - avoid overreaching.
  • Make sure the user sits back in the chair and has good back support. Also check that the feet can be placed flat on the floor or on a footrest.
  • Make sure the head and neck are as straight as possible.
  • Make sure the posture feels relaxed for the user.