When sitting at your desk at work think about how you are sitting. Where is your head positioned? Are you slouching with your shoulders rolled forward? Are your feet resting flat on the floor? How often do you get up to take a break from the screen? I am sure while you are reading this you may have made those small adjustments by sitting up nice and tall. Keep in mind we are all guilty of bad posture especially if our job requires us to sit at a computer. Let us look at some facts.
Anterior head carriage is a common problem most of us experience due to sitting on our phones or at a desk. Studies have shown that as you increase the degrees of forward leaning, it increases the weight significantly, which turns our 10lb head into a 30-60lb weight for our neck to hold. This eventually creates chronic repetitive stress on our neck and back which makes us more prone to injury and biomechanical dysfunction.
There are common postures and movements we do every day that play a huge factor in the pressure on your lumbar discs. See Figure 1 to give you a good idea of how your positions affect your
See Figure 2 for some tips that can help to make sure you are maintaining good posture while at your workstation to avoid those aches and pains.
- Take frequent breaks! Every 20-30 minutes, stand up and stretch those stiff muscles.
- Prevent eyestrain with the 20-20-20 rule! Look up from your computer every 20 minutes at something that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds and blink.
- If you experience swelling or coldness in your feet, you may be sitting up too high. To improve circulation, lower your seat so that your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Do you find yourself sitting on the edge of your chair to view your screen? Try positioning your screen closer to you. An arm’s length away is usually a good distance.
- Align your ears directly over your shoulders to improve comfort and reduce stress on the spine and neck.
- Most people tend to hunch while seated. Keep your shoulder blades pressed against the back of your chair to improve posture.
Hansraj KK. Assessment of stresses in the cervical spine caused by posture and position of the head. Surg Technol Int. 2014 Nov;25:277-9. PMID: 25393825.
Pope MH, Goh KL, Magnusson ML. Spine ergonomics. Annu Rev Biomed Eng. 2002;4:49-68. doi: 10.1146/annurev.bioeng.4.092101.122107. Epub 2002 Mar 22. PMID: 12117750.