Throughout history humans spend most of their time moving about, but now more and more we find ourselves sitting. How many hours do you spend a week sitting? Most of us sit for work, we sit on our way to and from work, we sit for play and then when we are tired we slouch on the sofa. Here at TOPS we have clients approaching us to work on their posture even if they have no pain telling them it needs correcting, this is because in the past few years there is a growing awareness of poor posture and the seemingly endless problems this can cause.
Sitting for hours on end is tough on your back; it puts increased stress on the discs in between your vertebrae, ligaments and muscles around your lower back. Slouching is even more problematic than sitting, your normal spinal curve in your lower back (lordosis) is lost in the slouched position can cause even greater stress on your discs. If you slouch on a regular basis this will start to feel “normal”.
Here are some handy tips to help with getting as good a sitting posture as possible:
The furniture that you choose to sit on can dictate your posture. An adjustable chair with arms rests and good lumbar support is best. Additional lumbar support can be purchased if you have a deep curve in your lower back and need more support.
Your feet should be flat on the floor, if they aren’t then see if you can get a foot rest. Also try not to cross your legs as over time this can cause muscles in your hip to shorten.
You should sit as close to the desk as possible so your back can be against the back of the chair and you do not have to reach too far forwards to use the keyboard and mouse.
Your keyboard shouldn’t be too far forward so it forces you away from the back of your chair as this will cause tension to build up in your upper back and lower back muscles. A wrist rest can also be used to take the weight off of your arms.
Your computer screen/ laptop should be straight in front of you and the top of the screen should be at eye level, you may need to raise the screen. If the screen is too low then this will cause the muscles in the back of your neck to over work. A good guide is to place the computer screen an arm’s length away from you.
The mouse should be close to you, so you do not have to take your arm too far forwards. Your wrist should rest on the table surface; if not then see if you can get a mouse mat with a raised gel pad to rest your wrist on.
If you have to speak on the telephone and write/ type at the same time then see if you can get a headset instead of holding the phone to your ear with your shoulder as this can strain the muscles in your neck.
Frequently used objects
Place frequently used objects such as files, drawers, stapler or bin close to you to prevent repeated reaching or twisting throughout the day.
Working with glasses
People with bifocals may find it difficult to work with a computer screen, it’s important to be able to see the computer screen clearly without having to raise or lower your head. It may be worthwhile to contact your opticians to discuss other options.
There is a fantastic animated guide to help you as well which can be found here courtesy of lifehacker.
At TOPS we can assist you with correcting your sitting or standing posture so get in contact to book a physiotherapy assessment and start sorting out your posture.