Desk Disease: How to Avoid This Modern Epidemic


‘Desk disease’ is term Osteopaths know way too well. It ultimately describes the postural strains caused and maintained by poor work ergonomics. In this blog I’ll talk about some desk observations and a few simple ways you can improve your posture at work. 

Is there a correct way to sit at a desk?

There is a measured standard that can reduce strain on your body. These simple steps involve:

1: Think right angles: have your chair adjusted so your feet are flat on the ground and your knees and hips are bent at a right angle. Ensure your chair is upright and your hips are as far back in the chair as possible. Your arms should bend at 90 degrees at the elbow to articulate the keyboard of your computer.

2: Position the screen: the computer screen should be positioned so the top of the screen is in line with your eyes so it may require to be propped up.

3: Get a sit to stand desk: Too much sitting is bad but too much standing is also bad for us. Alternating between the two modes is ideal though. If you can modulate every 20 minutes to an hour, you will notice a significant positive difference in your back health and energy levels.

What about breaks?

A break from your position every 20 minutes will be ideal for your body and mind. This means going for a stroll around the office or doing some stretches at your desk. Keeping the body moving will reduce any pain and tension.


What are some stretches I can do at my desk?

Some easy stretches that will make a huge difference are breathing exercises, glute and pec stretches. Do them as many times as you can in your breaks, if you tend to forget, setting an alarm on your phone or computer might help.

I’ve attached three exercises below:

1: Glute stretch: hold for 30 seconds leaning forward for a deeper stretch


2: Pec Stretch in three different positions- hold for 30 seconds


3: Bruegger’s breathing exercise: 5 deep breaths in the position below

If you sit at desk and suffer from spinal pain, headaches, pain down your legs, glute pain and fatigue, our melbourne Osteopaths can help you stay pain free and advise you on how to decrease your pain caused by your work posture. We encourage ergonomic assessments and can provide a letter of recommendation for a standing desk. Book in with our helpful Osteopaths today.

Dr Stephanie Norton-Smith

Melbourne Osteopath

City Osteopathy