The 90/90/90 Rule for Good Posture


Maintaining good posture while working at a desk is crucial for preventing common issues like tension headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, and back pain. In this Therapy Tip Thursday, Jacob Stratton, PT, DPT, Cert. DN, FAAOMPT, from our Cottonwood Heights clinic, shares the 90/90/90 Rule—a simple guideline to help you achieve proper posture at your desk. Following this rule and making necessary modifications can alleviate discomfort and promote workplace wellness. Let’s dive in!

The 90/90/90 Rule:

  1. Elbows at 90 degrees: Keep your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle and comfortably positioned at your sides. This reduces strain on your shoulders and upper back.
  2. Trunk upright with hips at 90 degrees: Sit with an upright trunk, avoiding slouching or excessive leaning. Your hips should form a 90-degree angle with your trunk. This position supports the natural curvature of your spine and minimizes stress on your lower back.
  3. Knees at 90 degrees with feet flat on the floor: Ensure your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, and your feet are flat on the floor. This promotes proper weight distribution and reduces strain on your hips, knees, and ankles.

Modifications for Optimal Posture:

Chair height: Adjust your chair’s height so that your feet comfortably rest flat on the floor while maintaining 90-degree angles at your knees and hips. You may need to raise or lower your chair or use a footrest for support.

  1. Foot support: If your feet don’t reach the floor comfortably, use a stool or footrest to provide support. This helps prevent undue pressure on your legs and lower back.
  2. Ergonomic tools: Consider using ergonomic devices like a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. These tools provide flexibility in positioning your arms and hands, reducing strain on your wrists and shoulders.

For personalized guidance and further modifications, it’s advisable to consult a physical therapist. They can assess your posture and recommend exercises to strengthen the relevant muscles. Physical therapy can address any underlying musculoskeletal issues and contribute to long-term postural health.
Adhering to the 90/90/90 Rule and making necessary adjustments can significantly improve your posture and reduce discomfort while working at a desk. By aligning your elbows, trunk, hips, knees, and feet, you promote proper spine alignment and minimize strain on supporting muscles. Consult a physical therapist for individualized guidance and exercises to enhance your postural strength. Embrace good posture for improved workplace wellness and overall well-being!

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