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Tip Tuesday – Ergonomics for TMJD Patients: Part Three – Sitting at the Computer


Welcome to part three of our ‘Ergonomics for TMJ Disorder Patients’ series! This week, we’re covering how you should be sitting at the computer.
Your feet should always be able to reach the floor! If you don’t have a footrest, tape up some phone books (who uses them these days anyway, LOL?). Even a backpack could work in a pinch.

You should be sitting up straight, but not too straight… experts say that the back of the chair should slope slightly at an angle of 100 to 110 degrees. Your back should feel supported. If it does not, you can purchase lumbar support.. just make sure it fits you (and your chair).
Place the monitor in front of you with the top of the monitor just above eye level. If you wear bifocals or trifocals, see if you can get a pair of glasses just for being on the computer so that you aren’t constantly moving your head and eyes to accommodate your glasses.


Try not to cross your legs, because it can twist your body up and throw it off balance.
As always, take frequent breaks. I work in 20-25 minute increments, and get up to walk around or stretch for at least 5-10 minutes after each session. Inadvertently, this makes me more productive, too!
Most people need to pay MORE attention to the chair they choose. One thing to keep in mind is that chairs are often modeled after the average male body. This can make the seat too large, & it causes many women to not be able to sit all the way back in their chairs like they should.

Thank you to Cynthia Peterson for collaborating with me to come up with these tips! Cynthia’s last guest post on the TMJ Hope blog is a must read: Top Ten TMJ Disorder Tips from a Physical Therapist

Missed our previous tips? Here are the first two in the series: Part One – Mouse Ergonomics for TMJ Patients, Part Two – Keyboard Position.
Do you have any tips about sitting in a computer chair that might help your fellow TMJ disorder patients? How about affordable, easy ways to modify a chair that doesn’t fit? Let us know in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Tip Tuesday – Ergonomics for TMJD Patients: Part Three – Sitting at the Computer”

  1. This is good advice for everybody, not just TMJ folks.
    Another suggestion to the list is while you are up and about for your 5 minute break (love the 20 min increments) go to a window and look out as far as your eyes can see. Spend a minute or so really stretching your eyesight. This is a relief to your eyes from working at a screen, and will keep them feeling fresh.

  2. Anyone have a recommendation for a good computer chair? I have lazy posture and tend to slump, so I’ve been considering a balance ball (on the roller base) or one of those kneeling chairs….both of which are backless and supposedly force you to sit up straight correctly. Would appreciate any feedback or suggestions…

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