How does Posture at Work affect you?
In the last few years, the topic of posture has been thoroughly scrutinised in the world of physiotherapy, in its relation to pain.
The traditional view of Posture…
A traditional definition of posture would read something like; Posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against the forces of gravity while standing or sitting.
The key to good posture is training your body to sit, stand and walk in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during weight-bearing activities.
Challenging the link between Posture & Pain…
However, the issue with this definition is that there is no link to time spent in a certain position nor what position is, quote on quote ‘best for you’ to reduce this ‘strain’ placed on the body.
Therefore, in recent years researchers have challenged this definition, finding that there is minimal to no correlation between posture and pain in healthy individuals without neck or back pain. This is because our body is ridiculously strong and resilient.
Pain from Stiffness…
Rather the pain correlates with the period of time we spend in a certain position no matter what position that we sit in this is due to the increase in stiffness within the joints, not the pressure placed upon them.
However, you may argue that you only seem to get pain when slumping in a forward position at work in front of the computer and never when sitting up straight.
This can be explained by our human nature, due to a reduction in energy expenditure our bodies naturally slump forward and can stay there for a long period of time when working, concentrating or looking at a phone.
Whereas most of us can only adopt a tall posture for a short period of time so are constantly moving to reduce the build-up of stiffness.
How to Improve Posture at Work and avoid pain…
Therefore, when you are working it is good to follow the following checklist to avoid those hours in front of a screen in a single position:
- Sit well back into the chair
- Tilt seat forward slightly to rotate the top of the pelvis so the spine is in neutral
- Adjust chair height so hip is slightly higher than the knee
- Ensure feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart
- Sit in a balanced upright posture with head over the shoulders
- Move the chair in close to desk to avoid stretching upper body forwards
- Adjust the height of the screen so that your eyes are level with the middle of the screen
To conclude the best posture to work in is the one where you keep moving.
Keep an eye out for our new FREE guide on Workplace Wellbeing coming soon!
If you need any help with Workplace Wellbeing for your work and/or specific operations please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 01285 654059
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If you have any aches or pains, would like a program for work or any activity or sport, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 01285 654059.
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Thanks for reading…
Physiotherapist at the Markland Clinic.