The French have been confined for more than two weeks and many of them have used telework. But this activity, if not prepared, can prove difficult for the muscles and skeleton to bear. On Europe 1, Monday, posturologist Olivier Girard gave us his advice for better posture.


Confinement requires, the living room sofa and stools have become, for more than two weeks, the working environment of many French people. And for many of us, a nightmare for the back and joints. "We all furnished our apartment because it was nice, not because it was comfortable," said Olivier Girard, ergonomist and posturologist, guest of the program Sans Rendez-vous, on Europe 1. Not comfortable for work , he hears. Indeed, if many people have been faced with this telework situation, most of them were not prepared for it, adds the author of Plein le dos, the manual of posture .

The stool and the sofa: bad idea

According to the expert, back pain is a combination of four factors: posture, activity, duration and stress. More specifically, "what you do, in what posture, for how long and in what psychological state," he said, adding that psychosocial factors are important in terms of musculoskeletal disorders.

And in the absence of being able to quickly resolve the problem of stress, the causes of which can be very varied, it is first necessary to be able to resolve (as much as possible) the problems of posture, and their duration.

The best workstation is first a workstation off the couch, says the posturologist. "If I want my spine to be healthy, my pelvis must be stabilized," he says.

For that, it is necessary "to be seated on the bones of the buttocks, and against something which maintains behind the belt to ensure a lumbar support". Exit, therefore, the sofa too low and too deep, but also the bar stools that do not have a backrest. In addition, the feet must be able to touch the ground to allow the support at the bottom of the seat, and the stabilization of the pelvis.

>> Find the whole of Sans rendez-vous in replay and podcast here

No computer on the knees, use an elbow-height table

As soon as the seat problem is settled, and the pelvis wedged, it is a question of inquiring into the well-being of the neck. "We would need a table that allows us to have the working tools under our fingers, with our arms at 90 °," explains Olivier Girard first, who recalls that the important thing is to always have your wrists straight. To put it simply, the neck of the teleworker is protected as soon as the table on which he works is at elbow level.

If the height of your chair is adjustable, it will then be necessary to adjust it, making sure to also raise the floor using a footrest. Otherwise, it will be necessary to raise the seat with cushions or directories.

However, avoid bending the neck too deeply, adds Olivier Girard. "If you bend your neck more than 20 °, you multiply the risk of hurting yourself, hence the problem of the computer on your knees," he continues, explaining that in this case, the line of sight is too low.

If possible, "the solution is to use a separate keyboard and mouse, so that the computer becomes a simple screen that can be raised."

Frequent rather than extended breaks

"We must multiply the short breaks," says the expert in posturology. Indeed, it is better, according to him, frequent breaks, than prolonged breaks, because it is the first minutes that are most effective.

Regarding their frequency, Olivier Girard advises to adapt it according to the posture to which the worker is forced. "On a desktop computer, if we had to take a break every hour, we divide this break time by three to arrive at twenty minutes break on a laptop."