OccupationalTherapy.com Phone: 866-782-9924


Why is a neutral posture so important when setting up a home workspace?

Sara Loesche, MS, OTR/L, CHT

September 8, 2020

Share:

Question

Why is a neutral posture so important when setting up a home workspace?

Answer

When setting up a home workspace, it is important to have a neutral posture. What is a neutral posture?

  • Head straight, slight downward gaze
  • Shoulders relaxed, slight protraction
  • Elbows flexed (90-100°)
  • Wrists neutral
  • Lower body supported
  • Knee at hip level & not in contact with the chair

Figure 1 shows this. We teach this with body mechanics and when we do a task analysis to keep the body safe.

Figure 1. Neutral posture.

In general, you want your head straight and not to deviate in any way There will be a slight downward gaze about 15 degrees. This means that your monitor usually falls about the eyebrow level. That makes it easiest on your cervical spine and neck extensors. They are not going to get either stretched or tensed up and allow for a comfortable visual field.

The next thing is something that I do all the time and need to correct. Shoulders should be relaxed and not up by the ears. They should also be slightly protracted because when you are sitting at your workstation you cannot bring your shoulder blades back when you type. They are going to be a little bit protracted to be able to reach and type in front. The elbows should be flexed to about 90 to 100 degrees. I like to call this more of a floating posture. It should not be static at 90 degrees, but you should have the ability to move a little bit. When you are sitting, the desk surface should be below the elbow and typically it is not. Wrists should be neutral and not deviated. Supporting the lower body is very important as well.

The more we can set up our environment to achieve a neutral posture, the less fatigue and strain we will feel throughout the day.


sara loesche

Sara Loesche, MS, OTR/L, CHT

Sara Loesche is an occupational therapist and an Associate Professor at Thomas Jefferson University in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Studies Program. For the past 10 years, she has taught a course in information literacy as it applies to occupational therapy in both the academic and practice environments. This has led to presenting on the topic at both state and national conferences.

 

 


Related Courses

Work from Wherever: Ergonomic Tips for A Safe & Healthy Workstation Set Up at Home
Presented by Sara Loesche, MS, OTR/L, CHT
Video

Presenter

Sara Loesche, MS, OTR/L, CHT
Course: #4791Level: Introductory1 Hour
  'Great job of presenting examples to illustrate both problems and solutions of workplace at home ergonomics'   Read Reviews
Many individuals are moving to either full or part-time remote work environments and this can present a challenge in setting up efficient and comfortable workstations. This course will address common risk factors for office-based jobs, recommended workstation setup based on current ergonomic principles, and examples of stretches to promote health and wellness while working in the remote/home environment.

How Information Literacy Can Support Occupational Therapy Practice
Presented by Sara Loesche, MS, OTR/L, CHT
Video

Presenter

Sara Loesche, MS, OTR/L, CHT
Course: #5041Level: Introductory1 Hour
  'various information sites to utilize'   Read Reviews
There is an abundant amount of information available today regarding choices about health and wellness. Busy occupational therapy practitioners need to be able to find, evaluate, organize, and convey information accurately and efficiently in order to provide evidence-based services and promote health literacy to consumers of occupational therapy services. This course provides practical strategies to implement information literacy skills in practice.

Ergonomics in Early Childhood: Strategies for Childcare Workers
Presented by Sara Loesche, MS, OTR/L, CHT
Video

Presenter

Sara Loesche, MS, OTR/L, CHT
Course: #3988Level: Introductory1 Hour
  'I really enjoyed the pictures of the "do's and don'ts" for lifting/bending techniques during childcare'   Read Reviews
This course will discuss the role that ergonomics can play to improve the health and wellness of childcare workers. It will also explore the physical demands of childcare related tasks and the risk factors associated with these activities and environment in which they are performed as well as practical strategies for prevention of injury.

Back to School: Discussing the Biomechanical Impact of Backpacks
Presented by Sara Loesche, MS, OTR/L, CHT
Video

Presenter

Sara Loesche, MS, OTR/L, CHT
Course: #5272Level: Introductory1 Hour
  'Great content, studies to back it up'   Read Reviews
Carrying a backpack to school is a common activity demand of school-age children, and while there are many options for types of backpacks, there are ways to properly pack and wear a backpack to reduce biomechanical strain. This presentation focuses on studies that have looked at this topic and how occupational therapy practitioners can make recommendations on how to choose, pack and wear a backpack to promote student wellness.

Maternal Health and Occupational Therapy: Exploring Our Role with New Mothers
Presented by Sara Loesche, MS, OTR/L, CHT
Video

Presenter

Sara Loesche, MS, OTR/L, CHT
Course: #3770Level: Introductory1 Hour
  'This is a new area of practice for me to discover, and the presenter did a great job of giving a broad view of what can be done, as well as some specifics'   Read Reviews
Being a holistic and client-centered health care provider, occupational therapy practitioners can have a positive impact on new mothers and help with a successful role transition to motherhood as the current maternal health models appear to exhibit gaps where new mothers have needs. Occupational therapy's ability to address physical, emotional, and psychosocial issues of new mothers and suggestions for intervention areas will be explored in this course.