We know we’re supposed to maintain good posture, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to attain! Here are some tips and tricks to make it easier at home and work for maintaining proper posture throughout the day.
Living in the age of smartphones, tablets and video calls all come with a big challenge to our ideal posture. Forward head position stresses the spine, muscles, ligaments and nerves. When our head is in a downward position, out in front of our shoulders, it injures and strains all of them! A higher screen position means we are not looking down and will make us less prone to our head moving forward as we work.
Low Back Instability.
When we sit, if you move your head you are forcing your low back to work differently. There are two problems that arise for the low back. Too much flexion happens when the low back is curving forward, typically from head forward position along with the hips and low back being too far from the back rest. Think of a slouching child whose back looks like a “C”, or like they are about to slide right off their seat. The other problem is too much extension when leaning forward with your elbows on the desk or having your feet under your seat or worse yet, wrapped around your chair. This causes your low back to arch backwards and puts uneven pressure on the spinal bones, discs and pelvis and hips. Either too much forward or backward curving of the low back leads to weakness and stretching of the muscles and ligaments meant to stabilize and control the spine. This causes chronic low back aches, pain and fatigue from our body having to work harder to move and control the spine and support our body.
Supportive seating can solve this problem. Make sure your chair has a stable and comfortable seat. Often seats are too deep, which you see when the back of your knees hit the front of the seat before your low back is against the back rest. A properly proportioned chair goes a long to encouraging good posture.
Rounded Shoulders and Sore Arms
We already covered how being in the wrong size chair aggravates your low back, but it’s also a problem for your shoulders and arms. Having your keyboard/paperwork too far away forces you to lean toward them and forces your shoulder forward. Arm rests that are too high encourage you to lean on them, which curves your spine to the side and elevates and strains the shoulder and elbow. Keeping the arm rests back and low to support the elbows without lifting your shoulders keeps them in a better position. This helps avoid numbness in the arms and hands as well as promotes better, deeper breathing.
If most of your day is spent sitting, your goal should be comfortably sit up tall with your head and shoulders back, hips against the backrest, legs relaxed and elbows by your sides throughout most of the day. Be sure to take breaks and get up to move for good circulation and give your muscle some activity.
If you find you are still struggling with posture after implementing these steps, reach out to us to schedule an assessment for postural issues and avoid the progression of injuries. Early intervention can avoid worsening of the problem, which can take longer to fix.