Keen cyclist? Read about our new Bike Fit service!

With Richmond Park and the Surrey Hills almost on our doorstep it’s not surprising that cycling has become such a popular sport in this area.

Cycling places unique demands on the body and, here at Physio on the River, we frequently assess and manage people with problems related to cycling. These include aches and pains caused by cycling and the way the bike fits the person, as well as movement issues and physical problems with their body that impedes their cycling – and often both at the same time!

Therefore, it is entirely appropriate that we are now able to offer a comprehensive ‘Bike Fit Assessment‘ by a Physiotherapist to ensure optimal performance, manage any individual musculoskeletal imbalances in the body, minimise injury risk and keep you pedalling joyously!

One of our team of Physios, Richard Game, is a keen cyclist and loves treating cycling injuries. He is also trained in carrying out Bike Fit Assessments. Read more about how Richard can help and the value of having a thorough Bike Fit.

10 most common cycling aches and pains

  1. Neck pain – whether you are on a road bike, mountain bike or a hybrid, your neck has to be unnaturally extended for long period of time in order to see the road ahead. This commonly causes neck pain and sometimes neck related headaches
  2. Hand pain – too much pressure on your hands (usually because of incorrect bike set up) can cause hand pain. Also pressure on the nerve can lead to finger tingling and weakness (a temporary nerve palsy)
  3. Forearm pain – this can be from over gripping the handlebars or incorrect set up causing too much load on the forearms
  4. Lower back pain – it’s not hard to see how flexing the back in an unnatural position for hours at a time can cause lower back pain! Correct bike set up can help to alleviate this.
  5. Hip pain – cycling involves an awful lot of repetition in a very static posture. Tightness across the front of the hips can pose a risk to developing hip pain
  6. Knee pain – incorrect alignment of the knee when cycling (allowing it to drift inwards or outwards) can provoke knee pain
  7. Ankle pain – the position of the foot on the pedal and the cleats can alter the alignment and loading through the ankle
  8. Foot numbness – pressure through the foot and toes can lead to numbness of the foot
  9. Saddle soreness – we’ve all experienced that I’m sure – but the position of the saddle in relation to handlebars and pedals can contribute more or less to this soreness
  10. AC joint soreness – the AC joint is a small joint that sits just above the main shoulder joint. It takes a lot of load transferred up from the arms and into the upper body. It too can get sore and lessening the load with correct bike set up can help to lessen the pain

So you can see that there are quite a few aches and pains that can develop and getting your bike fitted to you correctly can go a long way to alleviating the stresses through the various parts of your body.

What is the advantage of a Physiotherapist carrying out your bike fit assessment?

As Physios we can not only assess how the bike is set up correctly for you but we can also look at how well your physical make-up works on the bike! Not everyone is totally symmetrical and cyclists often carry old injuries and imbalances in their body. We have the background knowledge of the human body to assess what needs to be fixed in your skeleton and movement system for a more comfortable ride. So Physios can look at how well the bike fits you and how you fit the bike!

What is a bike fit assessment?

Bike fitting aims to maximise rider comfort. A well fitted rider should be able to sustain a relaxed position on the bike with minimal effort, without causing strain and overloading tissues.

Bike Seat position IS NOT a normal sitting position but on a bike! It’s an entirely different posture.

The key to a successful bike fitting is that the rider is relaxed, their posture is optimal, weight is distributed evenly and comfortably, the joints are extended optimally to produce power and the foot is stable.

What can you expect from your bike fit assessment?

Bike Turbo Trainer

A bike fitting will take approximately 75 minutes. You should attend wearing cycling clothing, the footwear you cycle in (cycle shoes with cleats if used) and of course, bring your bike!

You will have your bike connected to a turbo machine and expect to be riding for up to 25-30 minutes on and off whilst we carry out the assessment.

We may occasionally make recommendations on changes to components such as saddles, stems and handlebars and, as necessary, can help you to source them (though for most this shouldn’t be necessary).

We charge £180 for our new bike fit service.

Next steps…….

If you would like more information and a chat with our cycling physio guru Richard Game just:

  • call 0203 916 0286
  • contact us by email here

Need to improve your golf swing performance and banish back pain? Physiotherapy could be the answer!

We know that lower back injuries are the most common amongst golfers. In fact, in professionals they account for up to 63% of all injuries.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be free of pain and improve the effectiveness of your swing?

Follow these 5 top tips to banish pain, prevent injury and maximise your golf swing…


  1. Have you warmed up?

picture of warm up exercises sourced from

image sourced from

That first tee drive demands a complex series of full body movements which can place up to 8 times your body weight through the spine!

Learning a series of simple on-course stretches and warm-up movements helps prepare your body for the high demands of your golf swing and reduces strain on your spine.


  1. How is your flexibility?

stretching from

image sourced from

Your golf swing requires a lot of both side-bending and shearing forces forwards and backwards in your lower back.

If this area hasn’t got good freedom of movement you can put excessive strain on the discs, ligaments, muscles, nerves and joints of the spine.

Having an assessment of your spine and the way you move will help tailor a programme to reduce pain and prevent injuries.

A course of Sports massages can also be a useful way to address muscular tightness.


  1. Don’t forget stability!

picture of strengthening exercise for golf

image sourced from

We know that people who experience low back pain, particularly if it has persisted for more than 3 months, have reduced deep (core) abdominal and lower spinal muscle strength and control.

This has a significant effect on the spine’s ability to control the force of your golf swing and how well you are able to generate power to strike the ball.

Working on your deep trunk muscles is essential if you want more distance and less pain! Sports Physiotherapy and our Pilates classes are a great way to achieve this!


  1. Power up!

strengthening for golf

image sourced from

Preventing back injuries and reducing low back pain is not just about focusing on the spine.

Research has shown that the major muscle groups of the leg (buttocks/thighs), shoulder (rotator cuff muscles) and forearm are placed under high loads during the different complex phases of your golf swing.

Weakness and/or past injuries to other areas of your body may have an impact on both potential for back injury and the quality and power of your swing.


  1. Get specific!

Most golfers also enjoy other sports and may use the local gym to help keep fit.

However Sports Physiotherapy can offer a bespoke assessment of the way you move, as an individual. This is then used to tailor a programme to make you “golf-fit”. Specific muscle tightness, joint stiffness, poor movement control and muscle weakness can be quickly identified, treated and rehabilitated.

We have two Senior Physiotherapists with a specific interest in golf – Dave Burnett and Sophie Cannon. Both keen golfers themselves – they know what is required to improve your game and keep you free of back pain.

To benefit from a golf assessment with one of our Sports Physiotherapists then give us a call on 0203 916 0286 or click here to contact us.

Busting the myths about back pain!

If you suffer a back injury you can be sure to receive a multitude of advice from well-meaning friends. But is that advice always the right advice?

Our beliefs about pain are formed at a young age and may relate to how our parents reacted to injury. Some parents make light of an injury whilst others are a little more indulgent! It’s no wonder we all react differently when sick or injured.

Read on to find out the fact from the fiction!


Stretching exercises at gym

MYTH 1: Moving will make my back pain worse

FACT: After a back injury people fear twisting and bending movements but it’s essential to keep moving. In the ‘old days’ we used to advise 3 weeks bed rest, but research shows that it’s better to keep on the move and not take to your bed!

We advise our clients to gradually increase how much they are doing and to minimise sitting which tends to stiffen up the back. Instead try to gently potter around your house and gradually increase activity as your symptoms subside.


Light weight training

MYTH 2: I should avoid exercise especially weight training

FACT: Back pain shouldn’t stop you enjoying exercise or regular activities. In fact, studies found that continuing with these can help you get better sooner – including using weights where appropriate.

We can give you advice on what weight training is safe to do. It’s often a case of choosing the right exercises that are safe and taking certain precautions in your technique. Likewise you may not have to give up exercise altogether, but whilst your back is recovering, just choose a form of exercise that’s safe to do. We can help you make this choice.

When suffering with acute back pain it can sometimes be positively helpful to take some short gentle walks or even go for a swim. Just ask one of our physios to advise on what’s best.


MRI of lower back

MYTH 3: A scan will show me exactly what is wrong

FACT: Sometimes it will, but most often it won’t. Even people without back pain can have changes in their spine so scans can sometimes cause unnecessary fear. This fear can influence your behaviour, making the problem worse.

Giving something a formal diagnosis can sometimes make it seem scarier and this can lead you to become more cautious than you need to be which isn’t always helpful.

In low back pain, research has shown that the amount of disc and nerve damage rarely relates to the amount of pain experienced. In fact many of us have scary sounding disc bulges and even squashed nerves, yet may never have any symptoms!



Herniated disc

MYTH 4: Pain equals damage!

FACT: This was the established view but more recent research has changed our thinking.

Modern Physio takes a holistic approach that helps people understand why they are in pain. The biology behind pain is very complex and our Physios can help you understand it better so you can recover safely and quickly.

There are lots of reasons that our brains register a situation as painful. All pain experiences are a normal response to what your brain thinks is a threat. The amount of pain you experience does not necessarily relate to the amount of tissue damage or indeed the presence of any damage.


The NICE guidelines that were updated in November 2016 advocate the following:

Pain control with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like Neurofen) for pain relief
Manual therapy – manipulation and mobilisation and soft tissue release (a type of massage).
Exercise – in a group setting (our classes are perfect for this).
Maintaining normal activities and keeping mobile and active where possible.

How Physio on the River can help you get back on track

Manual therapy techniques are the tools of our Physiotherapy trade. We can help loosen up your stiff joints, reduce muscle spasm, ease pain and get you moving better. Our massage therapists are also on tap to help relieve muscular tension.
Exercise in a group setting: we offer over 30 classes per week – a mixture of Pilates, Yoga and Dance, Tone and Stretch. Our classes have never more than 7 attendees so there’s lots of individual attention and close supervision. We grade our classes so you can be sure you are exercising at the right level for you. Our Physio, Fiona, is also a Pilates teacher and she takes some special classes called Rehab Pilates classes. They are designed for those recovering from injury or operation. With her depth of background knowledge she is the perfect teacher if you are recovering from back pain.
• We can give you advice on exercising safely during your recovery period and beyond.

To book an appointment with one of our Physios or Massage therapists just call 0203 916 0286, click here to email us or pop in to make the booking in person or chat to one of our physios first.

Take the strain out of gardening!

Autumn and spring are busy times and budding gardeners will be keen to get out in the garden. But before you venture forth with spade or secateurs in hand read on for some helpful tips on how to prevent a weekend of gardening becoming a back breaking experience!

  • First remember that gardening is a physical hobby so a certain level of fitness is necessary if you are to avoid getting injured. Try to take regular exercise throughout the year and keep flexible with some simple exercises.
  • Many tasks in the garden involve bending, twisting and lifting and this can lead to back injuries. Try to break these tasks up into smaller chunks. Don’t spend the whole weekend in the garden but pace yourself and carry out heavy jobs in small chunks. Vary the sort of activity so that you are not concentrating on one type of task for too long.
  • If you are tall there are tools nowadays with longer handles specially designed for taller people. This can make hoeing, digging and raking much easier.
  • Image sourced from

    Image sourced from

    Don’t bend down to weed but go on all fours so your lower back is not put under strain.

  • When lifting bags of garden rubbish or shifting heavy stones or plants always make sure you bend your knees and take the strain with your legs rather than your back.
  •  Bring the load close to your body before lifting it. Know your own limitations and don’t lift anything beyond your capabilities – instead get the help of a friend or family member.
  • When filling patio pots for the summer, put the pots on a table at waist height. You can comfortably fill them at this height and then, with help, carefully lift the pots off the table and into position. To keep the weight of the pots down don’t water them until they are in their final positions.
  • Image sourced from

    Image sourced from

    Don’t overload your wheelbarrow and when pushing it keep your back nice and straight.

  • A full watering can is very heavy. Try having two and filling each of them half way up. Carry them at the same time to balance the weight evenly either side of you. This is much better than carrying a full can on one side. Keep the watering can close to you when pouring and hold with both hands.
  • When using a hover mower don’t swing the mower from side to side as this can strain the back. Push and pull it forwards and backwards like a hoover, using your legs to do the work.

Finally, when the day’s work is done it’s tempting to slouch in a comfy chair – but don’t! Instead, sit up straight and put a rolled-up towel between your lower back and the chair to give support to your tired back.

First image sourced from The Great Outdoors Nursery at

Workstation assessments: complying with the law and improving the health of your staff

Are you an Employer, HR Director or Office Manager?

Read on to find out how we helped a City PR company:

  • comply with the law relating to Health and Safety at work
  • improve working conditions for their office workers
  • and improve the health of their staff by reducing work related aches and pains and absenteeism


Complying with DSE Regulations

Do you have employees who have continuous spells working at their computer for an hour or more on a more or less daily basis?

If so do you know that you have a legal responsibility to make sure they know the risks to their health and how to minimise them?

Office workers typically spend an average of 60% of their time at their desks!

Your duties come under the European Health and Safety Legislation and in particular the Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992 (amended 2002).

If you are unaware of your responsibilities – don’t worry as we can help you comply with all aspects of this law.

What are the potential risks to health?

sore neck

sore neck

The most common work related aches and pains affect the neck, arms and spine.

The factors that make this more likely are:

  • Sitting in a prolonged, static position
  • Placing your joints in awkward postures
  • Carrying out highly repetitive movements like using a mouse or typing
  • The stress of workplace demands
  • Poor working habits
  • Poor general health and fitness
  • Using an unsuitable chair for your size and shape
  • Not having your desk, chair and computer set up correctly

How we helped a City PR company with their workplace health

Diana Wilson, our Ergonomics Physiotherapist, visited the offices of a PR company in the City to carry out Workstation Assessments on their office workers.

For those with no current work related aches and pains Diana carried out a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Assessment.

This involved showing each staff member the correct set up for their desk, chair and computer.

Where possible she juggled different chairs between staff to find the best fit for each person. Where this was not possible she sourced the correct new chair.

She taught the staff how they should be sitting correctly and sourced any accessories that were needed like a footrest for those whose feet couldn’t reach the floor or a document holder for those frequently referring to notes. She gave each staff member a summary report of her findings and recommendations.

For those staff with existing work related aches and pains she carried out a more Detailed Workstation Assessment.

This involved analysing and identifying why a particular individual was suffering with pain and making changes to their workstation setup or posture to prevent symptoms occurring. A full detailed report was provided with recommendations and solutions.

Lastly she educated the office workers on the importance of frequent, short breaks, showed them simple exercises they could do to help prevent pain and talked to them about their general health and how keeping fit can help them stay healthy at work.

Testimonial from the HR Director

This is what the HR Director of that PR company said about the service we provided:

“Diana Wilson of Physio on the River attended our office recently to carry out a series of Workstation assessments, including one for a pregnant employee.

She is friendly, professional and approachable and the quality of her workstation assessment reports and recommendations were very high. Most importantly, our employees commented on how helpful and supportive Diana was on giving advice on the optimal workstation set up for them.

Feedback from Diana’s visit was so good that we have her booked in for another two days of workstation assessments later in the year.

It follows from the above that I recommend her highly.

Yours sincerely

Ann Marie

HR Director”

If you would like to book Workstation assessments for your staff or chat to Diana about what is involved call us on 0203 916 0286 or click here to email your enquiry.

If you have found this blog useful and would like to see other blogs about good health at work, click on the following links:

Are you sitting comfortably?

Do you have good working habits?

Which workstations accessories could help you enjoy a more comfortable working day?


How Pilates classes are helping back pain sufferers, who spend hours sitting at a desk

Do you suffer from back pain when sitting at your desk? It’s plain miserable isn’t it? No matter how you try to get comfortable, pain relief rarely lasts for long.

Ironically, we now see as many patients suffering back pain caused by inactivity – as we do those who have sustained an injury whilst moving or carrying something.

Because the reality is for many people, their working lives mean many hours sat in a sedentary position at their desk and  computer with little time to exercise. Sound familiar?

How Pilates can help back pain 

Pilates exercise classes are a brilliant antidote to a sedentary working lifestyle. The exercises are designed to take your back through a full range of movement (within your limits of comfort of course!).

Pilates also focuses on the core muscles – deep abdominals and back muscles, diaphragm and pelvic floor. By gaining strength in your core muscles this will help you to improve and sustain a better posture.

Sitting at a desk all day can cause some muscles to become tight – the hamstrings are a perfect example. Tight hamstrings can contribute to back pain. So giving them a good stretch will help maintain better flexibility.

image sourced from

image sourced from

Are you afraid to exercise in case it makes your back worse?

Clinic studioResearch has shown that a back injury that is not rehabilitated properly often leads to persistent weakness in the deep abdominal and back muscles. These muscles stabilise and protect the back from further injury.

Pilates can help to address that. What is important if you have a back problem is that you exercise in the right way.

At Physio on the River some of our physiotherapy team also teach Pilates – plus we have a team of highly trained Pilates teachers. Our Physiotherapy training gives us a depth of knowledge that allows us to modify and tailor exercises to suit clients with an ongoing problem.

Our Pilates teacher and Physio, Fiona Buchanan, takes Rehab Pilates classes which are specially designed to suit those recovering from an injury or operation such back surgery. Fiona can adapt the exercises to suit the issues of the individuals attending.

What concerns people about Pilates classes when they suffer with back pain?

Private Pilates lessons

Physio on the RiverIf you suffer with back pain and are concerned about exercising, we strongly recommend one-on-one Pilates lessons first. This allows your teacher to carefully assess your problem and lets you get to grips with the muscles that you need to be exercising.

Private Pilates lessons will ensure you get the most from a course of Pilates classes.

Small Pilates classes – maximum 7 people:

A maximum of 7 people in a class ensures there is plenty of close supervision. This is vital because the exercises are subtle and precise and it takes time to learn which muscles you are working.

To Book:

Call 0203 916 0286 or click here to contact us. If you are unsure which class would be right for you speak to Angela, our Class Co-ordinator and she will talk you through the options.

If you have enjoyed this have a look at our other Pilates blogs!

Which workstation accessories could help you enjoy a more comfortable working day?

Apart from the basic desk, chair and computer there are a number of useful gadgets which can help you work more comfortably at work or in your home office. We’ve picked out a few that we think can make a real difference.


  • Picture of footrest sourced from

    sourced from

    The footrest: in a previous blog ‘Are you sitting comfortably?’ we talked about getting your chair adjusted so that it is at the right height for your desk. If, having followed our guidelines, you find that your feet are then unsupported, you will need a footrest. They come in all shapes and sizes and most are adjustable in height. They are relatively inexpensive but essential to give your legs and back support.

  • The laptop stand: the laptop is great for convenience but is not ergonomically ideal and can easily become the source of aches and pains. We would highly recommend only using a laptop without a laptop stand when out and about but not when in the office for any length of time. Laptop stands are neat fold away stands which place your laptop screen at the correct height and help prevent neck and back pain. If you refer to documents, many stands come with an integrated document holder.  Once the laptop is on its stand it is necessary to use a separate mouse and keyboard. Many suppliers sell ‘laptop sets’ that include all three products in one package deal.


  • laptop trolley bag sourced from

    sourced from

    Laptop bags: there are some excellent bags on the market now that are both lightweight and either rucksack in style or on wheels – or both. There should be no excuse to lug your heavy laptop and work around on one shoulder!


  • vertical mouse sourced from

    sourced from

    Mouse: should you be unfortunate enough to develop symptoms related to using the mouse, there are a number of alternative mice on offer which change the position of your wrist and hand. There is even one that can be operated more like a pen.

  • Keyboard: equally there are a variety of differently shaped keyboards on the market to suit all individuals. There are even portable roll up keyboards for use with a laptop.
  • Document holders: there are several different types of document holders that can be used in conjunction with your computer. Some are freestanding and others attach to the side of the monitor or sit in front of the screen. They are all designed to cut down on the repetitive neck movements required if looking at work on your desk and then glancing up to the screen.


  • telephone headset sourced from

    sourced from

    Telephone headsets: if you are on the phone more than 40% of your day or if your calls last more than 5-10 minutes we recommend getting a headset. These are lightweight and very comfortable to wear. They can be totally wireless and sound quality is excellent. They will free up your hands to take notes and ease the strain on neck and shoulder muscles.

Remember, if you are unsure that your workstation is set up correctly we can help.


If you enjoyed reading this take a look at our other posture related blogs!

Do you have good working habits?

Getting your workstation set up correctly is the first part of looking after the health of your spine. The second part is introducing some good working habits which will cut down the loading of your joints and soft tissues and keep you pain free through your working life.

  • Have you studied your work area? Can you rearrange your desk so you don’t have to stretch repeatedly for things that are used regularly? Put heavy items such as folders in a place that is easy to get at. Place commonly used items within easy reach.
  • Are you a leg crosser? Make sure you are not crossing your legs habitually. This puts the spine on a twist and can set up back pain.
  • image sourced from

    image sourced from

    Do you take regular breaks? Organise your work so that you can change position every hour and break up the periods of sitting. We recommend taking mini-breaks away from your desk for 5 minutes in every hour. If you get absorbed in your work and  forget the time  set an alarm to remind you to get up and move.

  • Drink plenty of water so that your tissues are hydrated and healthy and minimize tea and coffee which can be dehydrating.
  • Make sure you are close enough to the screen and keyboard. If you are too far away you will be encouraged to slouch and this leads to a ‘poking chin posture’. Make sure that armrests fitted to the chair do not prevent you from pulling the chair in close to the desk.
  • Is the mouse too far away from your side? Have it within easy reach with the elbow at 90°.
  • image sourced from

    image sourced from

    Be careful when using a wrist rest. Resting your wrists during mouse or keyboard use just places unwanted pressure on the front of the wrist where important tendons and nerves pass. The hands should hover over the mouse and keyboard, maintaining a flat angle at the wrist. Try using the function/shortcut keys on the keyboard to give your mouse use a rest.

  • Do you cradle the phone between your ear and your shoulder?  This can lead to pain and stiffness in the neck. If you use the phone for more than 40% of your day or have long conversations then it is worth getting a headset. This will free up your hands during the calls and place your neck in a better position. Place the phone on your non-dominant side if you take notes during calls.

Person being instructed in yoga

  • What kind of lifestyle do you lead? If you have a sedentary job it’s important to inject some regular exercise into your life that gets you out of that sitting posture – something like walking, running, yoga, Pilates or swimming.
  • Simply doing some stretching exercises for your spine and upper limbs is a good habit to get into. It will help to keep your body supple and prevent stiffness creeping in with time.


If you work in an office or run your own business and would like us to carry out some workstation assessments or DSE assessments for your staff please call us on 0203 916 0286 or email us here for more information.

If you enjoyed this blog take a look at our other posture related blogs.

How to cope with Osteoarthritis

Did you know that last week was both national ‘Walk to Work Week’ and ‘Arthritis Week’? As Physiotherapists we treat lots of people suffering from arthritis in their joints. A common question they ask us is ‘What form of exercise is safe for me to do?’

Walking and swimming are excellent forms of exercise because we know they are good for the heart but gentle on the cartilage of your joints. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and affects men and women equally. It occurs when cartilage (the tough elastic material that covers and protects the ends of bones) begins to wear. Cartilage is an essential part of the joint; not only does it act as a shock absorber, it also enables the joint to move smoothly. With OA, the cartilage erodes, eventually resulting in pain, stiffness, swelling, muscle weakness and in extreme cases bone-on-bone movement in the affected joint.

Picture of arthritic knee sourced from

image sourced from

Although there is no cure for OA there is much that a person can do to take control of their disease and manage their condition. Physiotherapists can help you minimise your symptoms and delay or even avoid severe damage to your joints. Whilst your doctor can help with appropriate medication, your Physio can help reduce the pain and stiffness in the joints, strengthen weak muscles and give you advice on how to stay active but protect your joints.

Sometimes surgery is necessary and your Physio will be vital in getting you strong and flexible again afterwards and back to the activities you enjoy. Foot posture can sometimes contribute to problems with the knees and hips: orthotics for your shoes made by a Podiatrist can help alignment of the leg.

Exercise forms an important part of the management of OA. Arthritic joints like a little of everything and not too much of any one thing! So keeping gently active during the day – a little but often – is what the joints like. Too much sitting around leads to stiffness on getting up and being on your feet too long may make your lower limb joints painful and swollen. Getting and keeping the muscles that surround your arthritic joint strong helps to offload the joint from too much strain. Regular exercise will also help with weight management and keeping your weight under control will place less stress and strain on the joints and alleviate your symptoms. Acupuncture (given by our Physios) can help with pain relief.

Picture of nordic walking sourced from

Image sourced from

As a sufferer of arthritis myself, I find using Nordic Walking Poles of great help. They allow me to walk without a limp and they give me more of a workout. They also help me increase my walking distance.

Many people, when diagnosed with arthritis, think there is nothing that can be done to help. This simply isn’t true and I would urge sufferers to have an assessment with a Chartered Physiotherapist who will examine every aspect of the problem come up with a plan of action to help.


Are you sitting comfortably?

The majority of our clients are sedentary workers. You may be surprised to hear that sitting all day can be just as harmful as heavy labour. Very few jobs these days don’t include sitting at a desk and using a computer for at least some of the time.

Getting your workstation set up correctly doesn’t have to be expensive, although we would recommend spending a reasonable amount on your office chair as this is an essential piece of equipment to do your job properly and stay healthy.

The aim is to put your spine in the most ‘neutral’ position where the joints, ligaments and muscles are held in the position of least strain and effort.

  • Chair height:  Place your arms by your side with your elbows bent at a right angle. The middle row of your keyboard should be just below the level of your fingertips. Adjust your chair accordingly. If the chair is too low it will cause you to hunch your shoulders to raise your hands over the keyboard, leading to tension in the neck and shoulder muscles. You may want to get a keyboard shelf which pulls out from under the surface of the desk. If you have to raise the chair up to a level where you can’t place your feet on the floor then you will need a footstool (or a box) to support your feet.
  • When sitting on your chair your feet should be flat on the floor or footstool. The angle at your knees and hips should be at 90° or more – but your knees should never be higher than your hips. The seat should be deep enough to support ¾ of the length of your thighs, but not so deep that your back lacks support. The backrest should be slightly curved and adjusted to support the hollow in your spine. If your chair lacks this support try a rolled towel placed in the small of your back. A slight forward tilt to the chair seat can help to maintain the curve in the lower back. Pull your chair in close to the desk to encourage good upright posture.

Correct screen height

  • Have you studied your computer terminal recently? Your eyes should be level with  the first line of a word document.
  • The screen should be at right angles to your face and straight ahead of you.
  • If you wear bifocals lower the monitor to a comfortable reading height.


Finally, remember that the chair cannot give you good posture – you still have to work at becoming aware of your posture. Sit yourself right back in the chair, draw yourself up tall, ‘wear’ your head over your shoulders and not in front of your shoulders and let the chair support you.image sourced from



Next steps:

If you start to develop symptoms– commonly aches and pains in the neck, upper back, lower back and arms or funny sensations in the arms or legs – then give us a call on 0203 916 0286 and our Physiotherapists or massage therapists can help you resolve them.

If you run your own business or work in an office and need Workstation Assessments or Display Screen Assessments to be carried out to comply with the law, our Ergonomics Physiotherapist can sort that out for you. Just call 0203 916 0286 or email us here.

If you enjoyed this blog then take a look at our other posture related blogs.

  • Physio on the River
    The Old Ticket Office
    Barnes Bridge
    The Terrace
    SW13 0NP
  • Opening Hours

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    Tues: 8am – 9pm
    Wed: 7am – 9pm
    Thurs: 8am – 9pm
    Fri: 7.30am – 7pm
    Sat: 8am – 2.30pm
    Sun: Closed

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