Typical complaints

In this article we will show you which two typical complaints can occur due to the daily work at the desk and what you can do to avoid them.

Most of us are only interested in ergonomics when, for example, back problems occur. Then we suddenly realize how important ergonomics is for our performance.

From the definition of the IEA it follows that the well-being of people plays the central role in ergonomics. For many people, however, tension or even pain is already part of their normal working day. How does it look for you? Do you also notice how your body is adapting more and more to the one-sided posture at work?

Frau die mit gekrümmten Rücken und Laptop auf dem Sofa liegt.

Do you know this posture?

Our body is a very intelligent, economically thinking and adaptable organism. It tries to provide the performance required of us with the least possible effort and as energy-efficiently as possible. According to the principle “Form Follows Function” it adapts to our everyday situation and its tasks. If you are in a seated, slightly bent-forward position all day, your body tries to make this position as “comfortable” for it as possible. This causes the spine as well as muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments to adjust to this position. The spine becomes stiffer, muscles shorten or lose strength, and our joints become more immobile.

This adjustment creates an imbalance in the body in various places. This can have a negative effect on our health and often makes itself felt in the form of tension or pain. We will show you the most common types of complaints and what you can do about them.

„Crossed Syndroms“

As early as 1979, Dr. Vladimir Janda presented his “crossed syndromes”, describing a possible cause for two of the most common complaints in the workplace: shoulder-neck tension and lower back pain. The functional background of Dr. Janda’s theory is based on balance. In order for our bodies to maintain a healthy posture, there are muscles on our front and back that should be balanced in terms of strength. Imagine a scaffold that is held stable from two sides with ropes. If the tension is stronger on one side, the framework is crooked and thus becomes unstable. This happens, for example, when you sit at your desk with a curved back. The chest muscles pull more strongly and the spine framework becomes unstable. At the same time, the back muscles are exposed to significantly more strain, which then leads to tension.

In the following, we will take a closer look at the “upper crossed syndrome” and the “lower crossed syndrome”.

Pain in shoulder, neck and upper back

The “upper crossed syndrome” describes a muscular imbalance in the neck and upper body area. Symbolically, one can also speak here of the “turtle hump”. The neck flexor is significantly weaker compared to the neck extensor (neck muscles), and the same applies to the back muscles between the shoulder blades, which are significantly weaker compared to the chest muscles. These unfavorable conditions are mainly caused by one-sided loads in everyday life. We always lift our head against gravity (strained neck extensor) and work a lot in front of the body (desk, eating, cell phone, etc.), which leads to strained chest muscles. At the home office workplace, a table or chair set too low or too high leads to poor posture of the upper body and, in the long run, to “upper crossed syndrome”.

To improve this imbalance or prevent it from occurring in the first place, set your table properly, move as versatile as possible, and check out our BALANCING EXERCISES

Pain in hip and lower back

In “lower crossed syndrome”, the muscular imbalance is in the abdomen and hip area. As a comparison, try to imagine a duck with its buttocks falling out. The abdominal muscles are significantly weaker than the back extensor (muscle on the lower back), and at the same time the hip flexor has significantly more tension than the gluteal muscles. Again, the unequal relationship arises from one-sided stresses in everyday life. If you remain in a seated position for a long time without moving in between, this increases the tension of your hip flexor while at the same time weakening your gluteal muscles.

To improve this imbalance or prevent it from occurring in the first place, adjust your chair properly, move in as versatile as possible, and check out our BALANCING EXERCISES.


  1. Kapandji, Physiology of Joints, Vol. 3, http://www.jandaapproach.com/