Are you one of the countless people whose job has you sitting at a desk for long periods of time? If so, you might be familiar with back and neck pain from slouching. We’re here to explain how to improve your posture at work and the benefits of better ergonomics.
Poor Posture Can Impact Your Health
Chronic slouching and overall poor posture increase your risk of chronic pain, musculoskeletal disorders and injuries, all of which impact long-term health and productivity. Even if you exercise regularly, poor posture from sitting still causes musculoskeletal symptoms from reasons like:
- Bad habits like crossing your ankles and legs cause hip misalignment
- Continuous sitting increases wear and tear on your spinal discs
- Lack of movement restricts blood and nutrient flow to spinal discs
- Poor workstation setup causes neck straining if computer monitors aren’t at eye level
- Slouching occurs the longer you stay seated, keeping your spine misaligned
Even with the strong link between desk work and chronic neck and back pain, you can use the following tips for better work ergonomics to reduce pain and improve your overall health long term.
Use Neutral Posture
Neutral posture is the spine’s natural alignment position. It creates the least stress on your nerves and joints. When the spine’s natural alignment is compromised from slouching, hunching or injury, it can cause spinal compression, nerve pinching and muscle tension.
A neutral posture at work is possible even if you sit at a desk. Here are some tips on how to improve your posture while sitting:
- Keep your computer monitor at eye level
- Pull your shoulders back and keep your back flat against the chair
- Rest your feet flat on the ground
- Use a lumbar support tool to ease your low back and help keep your upper back straight
Take Movement Breaks
Research shows that regular movement breaks every 30 minutes greatly reduces the health risks associated with being sedentary. Desk workers who have chronic low back pain can reduce symptoms by taking regular movement breaks.
To reduce the health risks of sitting for long periods, it’s important to make time for scheduled breaks and perform good posture exercises throughout the day. Stretching overhead and opening up your chest and back can counteract slouching. A brisk walk around the room can help boost circulation and energy.
Invest in Ergonomic Supports
There are many wonderful support products out there that encourage neutral posture and help build better ergonomic habits.
One of the most important products to promote proper sitting posture at your computer is the right office chair. Look for adjustable ergonomic office chairs. Many have built-in headrests and lumbar support for better spine alignment. Office footrests and accessories like monitor arms and keyboard trays are also great options.
Create an Ergonomic Work Station
An ergonomic workstation takes into consideration things like:
- Alleviating hunched posture
- Allowing adequate legroom and foot placement
- Encouraging full range of motion
- Placing most used items within arm’s reach
An ergonomic workstation should fit you and your body type. With so many ergonomic products for the workplace to choose from, you can build the perfect adjustable workstation that keeps you in a neutral position and comfortable throughout the day.
Therapy for Body, Mind and Spirit
At AdventHealth Sports Med and Rehab, we want to see you pain-free, active and living life to the fullest. If you’re ready to feel like you again, we’re ready to help with individualized treatment plans developed in close collaboration with your team of physical therapists and other rehab specialists. If you’re experiencing chronic pain from posture issues, an injury or a medical condition, we’ll help you to feel whole again.
Visit us here for personalized care that heals the body, mind and spirit.