If you are an office worker, then chances are you've developed annoying backaches at some point from sitting at your desk for too long. I, too, have not been spared. After a week of crunching numbers on the computer, I fell victim to a bout of near-paralysing backaches that even led to nausea.

I quickly turned to Google for some remedies. Search results were aplenty, with a certain popular neck and shoulder rub being recommended as a good pain relief. While effective, the rub was merely a temporary solution and I was determined to get to the bottom of my backaches.

Suspecting that something was wrong with the ergonomics of my workstation, I decided to seek the views of Mr Patrick Ker, Senior Principal Occupational Therapist and Director of the Postgraduate Allied Health Institute at SGH.

According to Mr Ker, i the Singapore Standard: Code of Practice for office ergonomics states that users of computers and other equipment can consider improving three areas to better their workplace well-being:

  1. Physical Factors – Workstation design, posture, repetitive work and manual handling,
  2. Environmental Factors – lighting, temperature and indoor air quality, and
  3. Psychosocial Factors – Mental workload/work stress, job design, work practices and work organisation.

Of the three, the improvement of physical factors within our workstation is the easiest to tackle with some easy tweaks.  Here are some tips on how you can do so to make your work environment more comfortable - from your shoulders right down to your feet!

If you need some help improving the ergonomics of your workstation, there's no need to break the bank! Check out these $2 solutions available at Komonoya, located at Bukit Merah Central's NTUC.

When your chair is too high for you and your feet are left dangling, consider using this footrest. What's more, it comes with a raised surface massager to aid with blood circulation.


Originally meant to organise shoes, with a little imagination, this nifty shoe shelf can also double up as a platform to raise your screen to the right height – which is at or slightly below your eye level. This is especially useful for people using laptops.

Stretch it off!

One of the best ways to relief stresses on our backs after a long day at work is by stretching. Mr Ker recommends these simple stretching exercises below that you can do at both your desk or at home for some much needed (and free!) relief.


Sweet Relief

Following Mr Ker's advice and recommendations, I have since made changes to improve the ergonomics at my work station. Couple with the inclusion of stretching exercises into my daily routine, I am pleased to say that my shoulder discomfort has eased significantly. In fact, it has improved so much that I can now do without the use of lotions and massages to relieve the pain.

If you suffer from neck and backaches like I did, do take the time to make some simple and affordable changes to you work environment - your body will thank you!


Have more remedies to help relief backache? Share them with us at joyatwork@singhealth.com.sg!