By: Jason Grissom, Physical Therapist
Our society has us sitting a lot. We sit and watch TV, work at the computer, drive, fly, play video games, etc. Sitting postures can literally make or break you. If you constantly place your body in poor positions you can load the spine causing arthritis, bulging discs, stenosis, and other issues in the back and neck. Slouched postures also cause us to place a load on our internal organs and decreasing proper oxygen intake. If the arms are in a non-neutral position carpal tunnel and other joint issues can arise.
Therefore, pay attention to how you are sitting. Here are some simple ideas to help get you decreasing stress, increasing production, and causing less pain over years of your life spent sitting.
- Feet should be flat on the ground or on a footrest
- Your ankles, knees, and elbows should be close to 90 degree angles
- Your hips should be an angle between 90 and 110 degrees
- Wrists should be neutral
- The keyboard at a computer station should be in line with the wrist and fingers to prevent you having to reach up or angle the wrist down leading to carpal tunnel
- The monitor should be at or just below eye level so you do not have to look up or down with the head and neck
- Use the backrest of the chair or give your back some support to help maintain a neutral lumbar position
- Relax the shoulders—do not shrug your shoulders up towards the ears
- Make sure the armrests of the chair allow you to relax the shoulders
- Keep the monitor of a computer 18-30 inches away from the user
- Do not bend your wrist upward to use a computer mouse
The longer you sit, the more stresses are placed on the lumbar and cervical spines. The easiest thing to do is GET UP EVERY 30-60 minutes and MOVE AROUND. Unload that back of yours. Get that blood flowing again. Watch your posture throughout the day. If you start to slouch, scoot back and use the backrest to help support you. If you still struggle to keep a comfortable posture see you physical therapist to make sure you are able to use the right muscles to help support your throughout the day.