What is your sitting posture like?

A recent article asked if our back will hurt less if we can build a better chair through technology.

If you have read the article, it talks about doing physiotherapy type things in the chair to keep your back happy and able to sit longer. Please don't! The research into the ill effects of sitting are growing, and I would not want my physiotherapist to do such passive things without teaching me how to care for my spine.  This type of reliance on technology outsources our brains and common sense to something that doesn't understand how the body, not just the back works.

Recent statistics by Australian Services Union reported that more than 12% of all Australian workers are employed in offices, one of the largest single occupational groups.

Poor sitting posture can be partly or sometimes wholly blamed for several different musculoskeletal complaints including headaches, neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, and hip pain. Sitting in bad posture can generate large amount of stresses in different parts of the spine and the body contributing to pain and discomfort. It is vital to know good posture to reduce the unnecessary stresses on your body and the occurrence of pain.

‘Poked’ neck posture can cause enormous amount of stress at many levels of your neck spine contributing to not only pain in the neck but headaches, and occasionally jaw pain. This forward positioning of the neck can lead to increased forward curvature of the thoracic spine (“mid back”) known as kyphosis. A kyphotic spine can not only increase stiffness through your thoracic spine, it can create increased tension in the surrounding muscles, and also contribute to increased stress through your lumbar spine (low back). Increased loading through the lumbar spine is a result of decreased lordosis ie. Flattening of the spine. So, essentially, increased stress/loading in the low back can lead to increased stress through the mid-back and the neck, and vice versa. This can results in a vicious cycle of heightened spinal pain and tension.

To facilitate good posture, a work station setup may be required. Adjusting the chair and desk mechanics to the individual can significantly reduce stresses on the body thus reducing the likelihood of pain. Stiffness in the spine can be alleviated by physiotherapy intervention such as manual therapy and exercises. To maintain a good posture, appropriate mobility and strengthening exercises are required.