Local Chiropractic Gives Advice on Best Way to Improve Sitting Posture
Do you experience lower back or neck pain?
How many hours per day do you spend sitting?
How often do you take a break from sitting?
Do you often get uncomfortable or fidgety when sitting?
Are you actively aware of your posture while sitting?
The two principal issues seen in patients by chiropractors is neck and lower back pain, often caused by poor posture, which is frequently due to excessive sitting. Sitting for prolonged periods of time compresses the lower back and abdominal cavity which can restrict breathing and negatively impact blood glucose levels and metabolism. Furthermore, sitting for increased periods of time often leads to discomfort within the body and a loss of concentration, due to our brain and body telling us to move.
One study conducted in 2012 1 found that excessive sitting is a risk factor for all-cause mortality, even when exercise is incorporated in an individual’s lifestyle.
“Low risk” mortality = sitting under 4 hours per day
“Medium risk” mortality = sitting under 4 to 8 hours per day
“High risk” mortality = sitting 8 to 11 hours per day
“Very high risk” mortality = sitting over 11 hours per day
Another study found ‘Plasma insulin and glucose levels were higher on the day of uninterrupted sitting, in comparison to the days with light or moderate intensity breaks.’ 2
However, it is difficult to avoid sitting. Some of us have jobs that require us to sit at work or in a vehicle. If this is the case then being aware of your sitting posture and implementing a few changes can reduce the impact that prolonged sitting can have on your body.
5 Tips to Minimise Pain when sitting:
- Neutral Spine
When sitting (or standing) it is important to maintain a neutral spine by keeping your shoulders sitting over your hips and your head sitting over your pelvis. Additionally, you should maintain your lower back curve and avoid leaning to one side. Furthermore, you should ensure you are using a chair that correctly supports your spine and lower back.
- Knee Position
Ideally, your knees should sit either at your hip level or slightly lower than hip level.
- Elbows at right angles
If you are working at a desk check that your elbows are sitting at right angles when writing or typing.
- Feet flat on the floor
Ensure both feet are able to reach the ground (using a foot rest if required) and that your feet aren’t crossed over.
- Break it up
Pop a timer on to get up every 30 minutes - get up and walk around. In the middle of the day, factor in a walk, an exercise class or a game of tennis. This will help you get through your day with greater ease, reduce stress and get energised for the rest of the work day.
To watch the video that goes through these points then click on this link:
If you have a sit/stand desk then here are a few things to keep in mind when you are using this office set up.
Here are the key tips to remember:
- Work out how long you wish to stand each hour. We find 20-30 minutes is a good starting point.
- How long do you wish to sit for after 20-30 minutes of standing? Start with 15-30minutes and see how that feels.
- Set a timer on your phone to remind you when to change position.
- What are you wearing on your feet? If your work shoes aren’t runners, then it is a great idea to bring a pair of shoes to work and leave them there.
- How are you standing? Avoid standing on one leg. Aim to stand with feet shoulder width apart.
- Ensure the top of your compute screen is just above eye level
- Make sure your elbows are at right angles to your work station.
- Have breaks every 1-2 hours away from your desk. Even if it is to go for a walk to grab a glass of water. Get out at lunch to stretch your legs or join in an exercise class.
- Here is a link to some stretches you can do mid morning and mid afternoon to break up your day and relieve stress and tension in your back.
QUESTIONS WHEN CHOOSING A SIT/STAND DESK
Here are some of the questions that may need answering when looking for a sit/stand desk that will determine which option best suits your needs:
- Is the desk for home use?
- Is the desk for office use?
- Is the desk used by one person or more?
- Is the desk used by children?
- How many monitors will be used?
- What type of monitors, Mac or PC?
- Will a lap top be used or desktop?
- Do you have any recommendations from your chiropractor or other physician?
If you need a sit/stand desk and already have a desk then the desk top solution is ideal.
Here are some of the features to be aware of when making your decision:
- Large or small work platform
- Separate keyboard tray
- Electronic or manual
- Ease of dest top movement up and down.
- Can the desk be moved from one side
- Height variability
Don’t despair, because the team at Sit and Stand Desks will help. The options above will help you be prepared for what is available. A great assistant will help marry your needs with the features in the different desks available.
Watch this video to find out more:
FREE App to GET YOU MOVING DURING YOUR DAY
The Chiropractic Association of Australia (ACA) has a free app called ‘Straighten up Australia’.
It has great features that help you get up and moving in your day. Wonderful for those sitting at a desk at work or studying. Features include:
You can set reminders to get up and move. You are able to adjust the frequency, time range and days you would like these reminders.
- Augmented Reality (AR)
Point your camera to the AR image in the ACA brochure or postcard and the image comes to life, it literally ‘pops’ out of the page. The images are of different postures that we may assume in the day.
This 3 minute exercise program can be done during break times in your work day. No need to get gym clothes on, just get up and start moving. Helps to improve spinal health, stabilise core muscles and enhance health. Check with your chiropractor before starting. Any problems, stop and let them know.
- Health blogs
In the news feed there are numerous health related articles and health news.
- Find your local Chiropractor
This part helps you locate a chiropractor near you.
Dr. Lisa Smycz is a chiropractor at Errol Street Chiropractic Centre in North Melbourne.
(1)van der Ploed et el,Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(6):494-500. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.2174
(2) T.Saunders Sitting for just a couple hours has measurable (and negative) health impact PLOS Blog