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Sitting and Poor Posture

Not So Fun Facts

According to a study from the National Health & Nutrition Examination survey as many as 70% of the population spend six or more hours a day sitting.

Add to this that a 2015 report from the Annals of Internal Medicine found an association between prolonged sitting, cardiovascular disease and morbidity.

Posture comparisson

What’s Wrong Here?

Head Forward and down.

Putting stress on the posterior postural muscles, which are having to work harder to stop my head from falling further forward.

Reaching forward with my arms to reach the keyboard.

Shoulders are rounding forward. Increasing the tension and workload on the posterior shoulder muscles. Also predisposing you to shoulder conditions such as impingement and tendonitis.

What Have We Done Differently?

Firstly, prevention is key. If you can avoid sitting, do so. Our body is designed to be upright and mobile. If you can invest in a standing desk that is ideal. If not, try get up and about every 20 minutes. Studies have shown that our body starts to adapt to positions after 20 minutes. Any longer and your body starts to think of this sitting position as your new ‘normal’.

  • Try to increase the height of the screen you are looking at. The top of the screen at eye level is best. Use a desktop monitor if possible, otherwise use a stand or books (like I have here) to increase the height. The more your head travels down and forward the more tension on your sub-occipitals and your posterior cervical musculature. Which is a common cause of headaches if kept under tension.
  • Bring the keyboard to the edge of the table or use an external keyboard if using a laptop. This stops the shoulders rounding excessively forward and helps keeps the wrists in a neutral position.
  • Keep your back pushed back into the chair. This keeps the correct curvature in the spine. When this is achieved, your body weight is supported by the spine as it is designed to do, and not the muscles, tendons and ligaments which are overloaded when we lean forward.

Click here for more information on stretches you can do while you work!

If You Want To Test Yourself

Try using a swiss ball. By sitting upright correctly this will engage your core, in particularly the transverse abdominus and multifidus muscles. These muscles have been shown to be weak in those people with chronic low back pain. Keeping these muscles engaged and activated will help limit the possibility of suffering from low back conditions.

As a Chiro I would suggest trying the exercises on our webpage, I know it will make a difference!

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