Sitting Still: Your Posture And Your Health

Sitting in office chairs. Looking at the computer. Driving. Standing for long periods of time. Sleeping.  The day-to-day business of life – and major places where posture plays an ever-increasing role.

Poor posture can easily become second nature, causing or aggravating episodes of back pain and damaging spinal structures. Fortunately, the main factors affecting posture and ergonomics are completely within one’s ability to control and are not difficult to change.

Know The Warning Signs Of Back Pain

Back pain may be the result of poor ergonomics and posture if the back pain is worse at certain times of day or week (such as after a long day of sitting in an office chair in front of a computer, but not during the weekends); pain that starts in the neck and moves downwards into the upper back, lower back and extremities; pain that goes away after switching positions while sitting or standing; and/or back pain that comes and goes for months.

Get Up And Move

As muscles tire, slouching and other poor postures become more likely; this in turn puts extra pressure on the neck and back.  Take a break from sitting in an office chair every half hour for two minutes in order to stretch, stand, or walk.

Keep The Body In Alignment Sitting & Standing

Distribute body weight evenly to the front, back, and sides of the feet while standing. Sit up straight and align the ears, shoulders, and hips in one vertical line. Leaning forward with a straight back can alternate with sitting back, using the back support of the office chair to ease the work of back muscles. Avoid unbalanced postures such as crossing legs while sitting, leaning to one side, hunching the shoulders forward or tilting the head.

Use Posture-Friendly and Ergonomic Chairs

Ergonomic office chairs or chairs with an adjustable back support can be used at work. Footrests, portable lumbar back supports, or even a towel or small pillow can be used while sitting in an office chair and while driving.

Exercise To Promote Good Posture

Regular exercise such as walking, swimming, or bicycling will help the body stay aerobically conditioned, while specific strengthening exercises will help the muscles surrounding the back to stay strong.  A balance of trunk strength with back muscles about 30% stronger than abdominal muscles is essential to help support the upper body and maintain good posture.

Wear Supportive Footwear

Avoid regularly wearing high-heeled shoes, which can affect the body’s center of gravity and change the alignment of the entire body, negatively affecting back support and posture. When standing for long periods of time, placing a rubber mat on the floor can improve comfort.

Remember Good Posture & Egonomics

Walking, lifting heavy materials, holding a telephone, and typing are all moving activities that require attention to ergonomics and posture. Back injuries are especially common while twisting and/or lifting and often occur because of awkward movement and control of the upper body weight alone.

Create Ergonomic Environments

It does require a small investment of time to personalize the workspace, home, and car, but the payoff will be well worth it. Undue strain will be placed on the structures of the spine unless the office chair, desk, keyboard, and computer screen, etc. are correctly positioned.

You can make small changes that will greatly improve your posture.  Visiting your chiropractor for an adjustment regularly is a great way to promote your overall health.  If you don’t have a chiropractor, contact Discover Health and Wellness Aurora to schedule a consultation!