Physical therapists say you'd feel significantly better with any of these genius, cheap things

The experts weigh in.

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That pain in your neck and ache in your back have a cause. That sharp pain in your hands is caused by something you do every day. The movements you make, the seats you sit in, and the life choices you didn’t notice you made affect the way your body feels. But you might not have to suffer. Many common ailments have easy solutions — be they prevention, cure, or simply a way to alleviate pain. Physical therapists hear these complaints all the time and they know what to do about them. Physical therapists say you’d feel significantly better with any of these genius, cheap things.


A memory foam seat cushion

A hard seat can make for a painful day at work. And that pain will follow you into your off hours. Rick Kaselj, a physical therapist and founder of, recommends putting a seat cushion on that seat to prevent and help heal this pain. “Opt for seat cushions with memory foam or gel inserts,” he says. “These help distribute your weight evenly and reduce pressure on the lower back and tailbone."


This gel seat cover

Also in line with Kaselj’s advice, this gel seat cushion has less structure without the coccyx cutaway, but features a honeycomb design that lets air flow around you to keep you cool and the gel material has terrific bounce back. “It has made sitting in the chair comfortable again,” said one reviewer.


An ergonomic split keyboard

If you work long hours at a keyboard, your wrists take a beating. "Use an ergonomic keyboard and mouse to promote a natural hand position,” recommends Kaselj, “reducing the risk of wrist and hand strain." This X9 Performance keyboard has a split keyboard that’s angled so your hands are a comfortable distance apart and allowed to rest in a “handshake” position to avoid pronation. It’s also more affordable than many other options in this realm so your wallet doesn’t have to suffer either.


This big & comfortable ergo mouse

An ergonomic mouse should let your hand rest, rather than grip a too-small surface that requires a wrist contortion. That activity, repeated a thousand times a day, will quickly cause pain and cramping. This big mouse lets your hand rest in a natural position while minimizing the movements your thumb and fingers have to make, reducing repetitive strain injuries. It has six buttons, a scroll wheel, and a rechargeable battery.


An adjustable desk converter

Sitting every day, if you do it all day, can wreak havoc on your body. It’s important to get up and move often. Unfortunately not every work schedule accommodates walking away from your desk hourly. For days when leaving the desk isn’t an option, Kaselji recommends a standing desk converter. “Alternating between sitting and standing throughout the day can relieve pressure on the spine and improve circulation." This desk converter sits on the desk you have and goes up and down with an easy adjustment so you can move and keep working.


This memory foam foot rest

While you are sitting, make sure no part of your body is under stress. Even good chairs tend to put stress on the lower back. "A foot rest can help maintain proper posture by supporting your feet and reducing strain on your legs and lower back," says Kaselj. This memory foam version lets you kick off your shoes and enjoy the soft surface and squishy texture. Adjust the height by attaching or removing the bottom piece. Or flip it over and add some movement to your sitting time.


A monitor stand to raise up your screen

Most of the therapists who shared advice for this article recommend playing close attention to where your computer sits. "Position your monitor at eye level to reduce neck strain," says Kaselj. Since hunching over so you can see the monitor is another way to you likely put your body under stress while you work, a monitor stand is an easy solution for keeping your screen at eye level. It even adds some storage space underneath. The height adjusts to three levels and it comes in two colors.


A stand for your laptop

If something more portable is more in line with your work style, this laptop stand will elevate the screen so you don’t bend over to see it, alleviating neck strain — and pain — quickly. The height is easy to adjust at the push of a button and it angles the keyboard and allows airflow to keep your machine from overheating.


A foam roller to massage sore muscles

If you took your workout to the next level and the next day is uncomfortable, take some time for recovery so you don’t injure yourself next time. "Foam rollers or massage sticks are excellent for self-myofascial release,” says Kaselj. This affordable high-density exercise roller comes in two lengths and six colors so it’s easy to keep one or two on hand to release the stiffness in those muscles. “These tools can alleviate muscle tension and discomfort," he says.


This handy muscle roller for quick massage snacks

This muscle roller is a great option for smaller muscles or for keeping a tool within reach so you can work out tense muscles while you work at your desk or watch TV. The variety of nubby textures feels terrific and the independent rollers give a thorough massage. The grippy handles make it easy to hold so you can really get in there and work out your tensions.


This desk chair with lumbar support

While a new desk chair may seem like an investment, if your desk chair is terrible, no amount of added seat cushioning will save you. Kaselj advises that you "invest in an ergonomic chair with lumbar support to maintain the natural curve of the spine.” This high-back desk chair has adjustable lumbar support so you can get that right. It also spins, leans back, has adjustable armrests, and cradles your head on an adjustable headrest.


A pack that takes care of your back

"If you carry a backpack regularly,” suggests Kaselj, “choose one with padded shoulder straps and multiple compartments to distribute weight evenly." A heavy backpack can get uncomfortable fast without these features. This option from Targus is carry-on friendly and protects your laptop as well as your back and shoulders. It has a sleeve for laptops as large as 17 inches, so whatever you’re using this has you covered.


This stretching strap for deeper stretches

"Incorporate stretching breaks into your day,” suggests Kaselj. It will prevent the damage that sitting continuously can cause, feel great, and keep you limber in small increments. It doesn’t have to be a massive time commitment. Kaselji says, “Simple neck, shoulder, and back stretches can relieve muscle tension." Grab a stretching strap to make it fun and increase the depth of your stretch. This one has loops so you can grab a wrist or ankle with it and measure your progress.


An easy timer so you take stretch breaks

It’s so easy to keep working for hours without a break, that it helps to put that stretch-break plan on a timer. This cube timer lets you time things in all sorts of increments. And it looks adorable doing it. All you do is flip the cube from your work timer — maybe 60 minutes — to your break timer — maybe 10 minutes. The timer that’s running is displayed on top. It shows the time on the screen when no timers are running.


This comfortable ergonomic desk chair

"I think one of the best ergonomic investments someone can make is a good office chair,” says Dr. Dave Candy, doctor of physical therapy and a board-certified specialist in orthopedic physical therapy, “especially if they have a desk job.” They aren’t necessarily that expensive anymore, as this lovely ergonomic chair with adjustable support, flip-up arms, the ability to lean back, and molded memory foam seats demonstrates. “The more adjustability features the better,” he says. “Adjustable headrest, armrests, height, tilt, recline."


An electric standing desk

Much like many of the physical therapists Bustle spoke with for this article, Dr. Candy says, "an adjustable sit-to-stand desk is another good option for people who have a desk job. Neither standing nor sitting in one position too long is good." This electric standing desk from Flexispot makes the shift from sitting to standing so easy that you will do it often. Just push a button and the desk and everything on it rises up to standing or back down to sitting. You can choose from five sizes and six desktop colors.


This footrest to keep your feet flat when you sit

Candy also recommends a footrest for when you are sitting in that ergonomic chair. "When seated in this position, your feet should be able to be planted flat on the floor,” he says. “If that is not possible because your chair needs to be high due to the desk height, then using a footrest under your feet can be helpful as well.” This memory foam version is perfect for the job. It adjusts in height and you can flip it over and rock your feet to help with circulation.


A seat wedge to achieve more comfortable seated positions

Josh Weight, an expert sports and exercise physical therapist, strength and conditioning coach, and the director of Gravity Physio, recommends using a wedge seat when you are seated. "A wedge seat cushion can help reduce anterior hip pain and improve posture when sitting for extended periods,” he says. “It tilts your pelvis slightly forward, which can alleviate pressure on the hip joints and lower back. Place it on your office chair or use it in the car for a more comfortable seating position."


A mobile standing desk

Weight also recommends alternating between standing and sitting as you work. “This can help reduce the strain on your back and neck caused by prolonged sitting,” he says. If you are setting up a home office or already have a desk you love, this stand-up desk gives you a cheap solution that doesn’t encourage collapsing into a chair for hours at a time. “Adjust the height to find a comfortable standing position and alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day for better ergonomics.”


This monitor riser with storage space

"An adjustable desk riser allows you to easily convert your regular desk into a standing workspace,” says Weight. This monitor riser is designed to lift the monitor up to a comfortable height and it has a place to store office supplies, right on your desk. “For a cheaper hack,” he says, “just prop your monitor up on a bunch of books to get it to a height you can stand and work at!" You could even put this monitor riser on a pile of books for an artsy and functional solution.


A pedal exerciser for under your desk

"An under-desk foot pedal is a fantastic way to stay active and burn extra calories while working at your desk,” says Weight. “You can use it for gentle, low-impact leg exercises without leaving your chair. It's especially useful for those with sedentary jobs, helping to improve circulation and reduce the risk of stiffness." It’s not even expensive, as this pedal exerciser proves.


This exercise ball that makes a great desk chair

"Replace your traditional chair with a Swiss balance ball (also known as a stability ball or yoga ball) as a seating option,” suggests Weight. “Sitting on a Swiss ball encourages active sitting, which engages your core muscles and promotes better posture,” he says. “This can help alleviate lower back pain by reducing the pressure on your lumbar spine and encouraging better spinal alignment. It's also softer on your bum and helps avoid those pressure sorenesses we get from prolonged sitting on less than comfortable chairs."


A vibrating foam roller

"Invest in a vibrating foam roller for muscle relaxation and tension relief during breaks,” recommends Weight. “These rollers provide deep tissue massage and can help alleviate muscle stiffness and soreness. Using one for a few minutes during breaks can improve blood circulation, reduce muscle tension, and enhance overall comfort. Using a vibrating foam roller can help you maintain muscle health and reduce tension throughout the work day."


This split keyboard with built-in wrist and palm rests

Jill Hoefs, MPT, and owner of Body Align Physical Therapy is also recommends having a separate keyboard. "Separate keyboards are ideal so arms can be relaxed while typing," he says. This split ergonomic keyboard has a built-in wrist and palm rest, and positions your forearms in a more comfortable position.


An adjustable chair with a soft seat

If you are tall, you might have a range of ergonomic challenges to overcome, including a tendency for chairs and desks to fit people of average height. Here is where an ergonomic chair can help. "Chairs should be adjustable for taller individuals to sit comfortably,” says Hoefs. The soft memory foam seat on this chair is also a bonus, eliminating the need for extra padding. The height of the chair and the armrests can be adjusted to your needs.


These monitor risers that can handle two screens

Whether you work standing or sitting, dial in the screen height so you aren’t spending the day tweaking your neck. "Monitors should be raised so users are reading at eye level and don't have to look down," says Hoef. This is so easy to accomplish even if you have two monitors, with this monitor stand two pack. Not only does it provide an adjustable height surface for two monitors, but each one has a place to set your phone or tablet.


These memory foam mats for your work space

"Whether you’re in an office or doing chores around the house, it is important to place mats and flooring with support but also with some give and elasticity in areas where one would stand for an extended period of time,” says John Gallucci Jr., MS, ATC, PT, DPT, and CEO of JAG-ONE Physical Therapy. “For example, when doing the dishes or standing at a desk doing work, it is not only important to be wearing proper footwear with enough support, but to stand on a surface that also provides support and has some give to it to help take pressure off of the body’s joints." These anti-fatigue kitchen mats — in a range of colors and textures and multiple sizes — work perfectly for this.


A pair of memory foam slippers

If changing the flooring isn’t in your plan, you can wear the give and elasticity Gallucci suggests by sliding your feet into these memory foam slippers with a soft rubbery sole that’s over an inch thick and a fuzzy lining that feels terrific against your skin. They come in 13 colors.


These floor tiles for a cushioned space

If the space you working in is your home gym, garage, or another functional space, don’t skimp on the gentle flooring. These foam interlocking tiles can soften the floor in any space easily and affordably. Assemble them like an easy puzzle. They come in three colors and you can choose the coverage area and thickness.


An interactive mat for your standing desk

Fatigue can be a real problem when working at a standing desk. But don’t give up and sit down too fast! Set this anti-fatigue standing desk mat in front of your desk, and enjoy the soft elasticity that Gallucci recommends beneath your feet with the added bonus of textured terrain so your feet move almost on their own. Moving is easier — and healthier — than standing.


This massage gun for self-care breaks

"Movement is always going to be my number one recommendation,” says Dr. Julia Morgan, doctor of chiropractic and fitness and a rehabilitation expert. “There are two ways in particular that I love to achieve this for clients while they're at work. The first is the Hypervolt Go 2 — it’s basically a portable massage in your pocket and is also great for stress relief as well!"


A heated attachment for that massage gun

"Then you combine this with heat therapy using their [Hyperice's] new Heated Head Attachment for even more relief,” says Morgan. “I love following this up with a seated or standing movement ‘snack,’” she says. “Just 2-3 stretches that are going to help out those areas that tend to get uncomfortable or you used the massage gun on." This way you are turning your work time into workout recovery time — and making it all part of your wellness plan.


This lumbar support pillow for every seat that gets it wrong

Sometimes you have no choice but to sit still. For those times, says Morgan, “I love clients having extra support for their lower back in their chair. Unfortunately, a lot of the ergonomic chairs have support in areas where some don’t need it. I recommend this lumbar roll on Amazon which allows you to move it up and down the back of your chair, or car if you travel for work, and place it just where you need it!"


A desk converter that’s small and storable

"The last recommendation would be a desk that is transitional to both standing AND sitting,” says Morgan. You may not have the space or funds for that fancy electric standing desk. But that’s not the only way. “A monitor riser is a great option when a transitional desk is not feasible," she says. This desk converter will transform any desk into a standing workstation in seconds and it folds up flat for storage.


An adjustable monitor stand

"The best position is the next position, as I always say,” says Morgan. So when you are thinking about your workspace, always be thinking in terms of the ability to adjust things. “The more you can change positions, eye gaze, etc.,” she says, “is the most preferred!" This monitor desk stand lets you easily adjust the tilt and height of your screen without rebuilding your workspace.