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Tips for getting rid of pain when sitting at your desk

Young woman sitting at desk holding back in pain

Poplar Osteopathy

January 30, 2024

Spending extended hours at a desk has become the norm for many of us. Unfortunately, our bodies have not evolved to this sedentary lifestyle which can contribute to a variety of musculoskeletal issues, from back pain to stiffness in the neck and shoulders.

We are here to provide you with some insightful tips on how to alleviate and prevent such discomfort.

Tip 1: Optimise Your Workspace

Creating an ergonomically friendly workspace is crucial for preventing desk-related pain. Ensure that your chair and desk are at the right height to support a neutral posture. Your feet should be flat on the floor, and your computer monitor should be at eye level. There are some cheap accessories you can buy such as a wireless keyboard and a lap top stand which can help turn most tables into a more ergonomically supportive environment. Additionally, invest in a comfortable chair that provides proper lumbar support and has height adjustable seat and arms and a headrest. If you need help in creating the optimal desk set up, we can provide a free ergonomic assessment for you.


Tip 2: Take Regular Breaks

Now this is a tricky one depending on the nature of your job.  But breaking up long periods of sitting is essential for maintaining good posture and preventing pain. Set a timer to remind yourself to stand up, stretch, and walk around for a few minutes every hour. These short breaks not only alleviate physical stress but also rejuvenate your mind, enhancing productivity and focus. There are some digital tools out there which have helped some of patients such as RSI Guard who offer a 45 day free trial.

Tip 3: Practice Mindful Sitting

Pay attention to your sitting posture throughout the day. Sit back in your chair with your back straight and shoulders relaxed, if you have a chair with a headrest then make sure your head is contact too. Avoid crossing your legs, as this can lead to uneven pressure on your spine. Distribute your body weight evenly on both hips, and consider using a small cushion for extra support. Take some deep breaths and try to consciously relax your body and avoid perching where possible.

Tip 4: Stretch Regularly throughout the Day

Simple stretches can do wonders to relieve tension and improve flexibility. Incorporate neck stretches, shoulder rolls, and spinal twists into your daily routine. These exercises help counteract the effects of prolonged sitting, promoting better circulation and reducing muscle stiffness. Visit our Facebook Group – Standing Tall Again with Poplar to see what types of stretches can be done at your desk.

Tip 5: Strengthen and Move your Body Outside of Work

If you cannot minimise the sedentary aspect of your life then you need to add something into your weekly routine.  Getting stronger and moving your body out of the sitting position regularly is the best way to combat pain when at your desk.  The best type of exercise is one that you enjoy so try different types of classes and activities that suit your lifestyle and find something that you love to do.

Tip 6: Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is often overlooked but plays a crucial role in musculoskeletal health. Water helps keep your joints lubricated and your muscles functioning optimally. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, and consider incorporating herbal teas for added benefits.

Tip 7: Seek Professional Advice

If you experience persistent pain or discomfort despite implementing these tips, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice. Our team at The Poplar Osteopathy Clinic are always here to help you understand and address the root causes of your discomfort. We can provide personalised recommendations and treatments to support your overall well-being.


Remember, small changes in your daily routine can make a significant difference in alleviating desk-related pain. By incorporating these tips into your lifestyle, you can enjoy a more comfortable and pain-free experience at your desk.

person with low back pain at her desl
Lady suffering low back pain and sciatica when working at her desk

About Us

Aimee and Rhodri of Poplar Osteopathy Clinic Milton Keynes

We are an osteopathic clinic in Milton Keynes with a unique approach

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Milton Keynes Clinic

Conveniently situated in Bletchley, Milton Keynes

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