Sitting On The Job

At our Oakville Chiropractic Office, we see the negative effects that sitting at a desk and computer can have on energy level. productivity and comfort level. Take a little time to review the following:

Sitting can be an easier position to maintain for a long period of time, but sitting can also cause a lot of stress to your body. Be mindful of the following points when trying to maintain good sitting posture at any time but particularly if you need to sit for a prolonged period:

  • Keep your head in neutral position.
  • Try to keep your shoulders pulled slightly.
  • If you are working on a computer or at a desk, keep your forearms and wrists parallel to the ground. Do not let your wrists cock backwards while working.
  • Move backwards to ensure your buttocks touch the back of the chair. If you are sitting at a desk or table you may then have to pull your chair closer in to the desk or table in order to maintain good posturing from the waist up. You should feel as though you are sitting on top of the bones in your buttocks, not rocking back behind them.
  • Whenever possible use a chair with a backrest on it rather than a chair without one. If there is a choice in backrests, choose one that provides good support to your upper and lower back. You can also insert a back support if the chair back is inadequate, or in a pinch use a rolled up towel or something similar in the small of your back to help maintain and support the natural curve in this area.
  • Ensure your thighs are roughly parallel to the ground. They may be slightly higher or lower depending on comfort and how well your chair can support your thighs.
  • Ensure there is a space between the back of your knees and the chair in order to not cause pressure at the back of your calves. If you are too short to accomplish this, you may need to insert a back support behind you to bring you more forward in the chair or use a footrest.
  • Do not cross your legs.
  • Use a footrest whenever possible in order to keep your feet up at a slight angle and to maintain your thigh position. Keep your feet down flat on the footrest or floor if there is no footrest available.
  • If you must sit for a long period and are unable to take a break then give your back a rest by tilting your pelvis forwards and backwards for a minute or two. If you are using a footrest change your position by taking one foot off of the footrest or if you aren’t using one then put something on the floor to put one foot up onto. By changing your foot position it changes the position of your pelvis and affects the pull on your tissues. Although it is not recommended for long periods, if you have to sit for an extended period then a brief period (less than 5 minutes) of crossing your legs either at your knees or with one ankle over the other knee will also change the position of your hips and pelvis and give a short rest to the tissues.

If you are an office worker or are required to sit for prolonged periods for your job then it is worthy to discuss your specific desk and sitting ergonomics with your physiotherapist. Whenever possible it is most beneficial to get advice while sitting at your actual workstation. Specific advice from your physiotherapist when purchasing a new office or work chair should also be sought.

Maintaining a good position in standing and sitting is something we should all strive to do whenever possible in order to decrease the overall stress on our bodies. Although it is impossible to maintain these perfect positions all of the time, remember that ‘it all counts’ when dealing with stress on the body, so try to put yourself in a good posture as often as possible. Apart from all the facts about good posture being better for your body, another truth is that proper posturing just simply makes you look better, look healthier and feel happier!

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