Are you sitting comfortably?
An article by Gillian Lonsdale
Sitting is an activity that seems so harmless , nothing out of the ordinary we do it every day in some shape or form, the office chair, the sofa, in the car ..... I needn't go on.... Yet, sitting has its darker side.... in fact desk work is torture for your back and if you have bad posture it's even worst.
Even if you don't have any symptoms now. Experts say that sedentary work such as sitting all day for work predisposes us to back injury, that's 6- 8 hours on an average work day for many of us. Age certainly compounds the problem
People who sit all day are going to experience increased pressure of their spinal discs and the daily pressure means they are likely to experience some pain or discomfort.
The seated posture matters more than the seat itself, but the best aids to good posture and relieving the stresses of sitting are:
A good chair - firm padding all round, curled front edge , lumbar support and fully adjustable height seat, arm rests and tilt are best
Keeping your feet on the ground (pointing in the same direction you are sitting), they are mostly forgotten but no supported sitting can occur without a good foundation
Sit on your sitting bones ( not your tail bone ( sacrum)) put your hands under your buttock cheeks to find these
Changing positions regularly , even the strongest back can only sit up straight for 20- 25 minutes
Stand up or walk whenever possible e.g. whilst talking on the telephone, thinking etc.
Keep the head stable and the back of the neck long - a forward head position is hard work for the neck and shoulder, as the head is heavier than you think....weighing in between 3.5 to 5.5kg... that's 8 % of the body's overall weight. Not surprisingly your neck gets tired if you hang the head off it??
Set up your desk so that the screen is near enough to avoid you leaning your face into the screen and have it slightly lower than the top of the forehead
Get reading material on a stand at the same level as the screen. Or tilted up at you on a couple of rind binders
Get yourself checked out at least once or twice a year for spinal health and overall body alignment and balance. (I.e. find yourself a good osteopath) even your cars get an annual M.O.T., is your body really less deserving than your car?
Gillian Lonsdale (Registered Osteopath) says that over years of working with patients to relieve the pain of postural misalignments and those with spinal injury and ailments. I have certainly seen the unfortunate and regular consequences of ' unconscious' sitting... that's everything from the all too familiar ' slump' , the 'full slouch' , crossed legged or lop sided sitting.... 'When we sit without paying attention to the needs of our body and for prolonged periods weather at work or at home we are inviting all sorts of health issues.'.... classically, neck pain, tight shoulders, tension headaches, numbness or tingling in the extremities & back pain to name a few.
The daily grind of sitting will wear you out in the end UNLESS you do something about it. Don't wait until it hurts. Prevention is always better way forward , so sit up straight in that chair, it will be better for you in the long run and more comfortable in the meantime . Make the changes and keep that essential awareness.
BSc. (Hons) Ost.Med, ND, MRN