Maintaining the Correct Posture while Sitting at your Desk
As more and more people are switching from an outdoor working environment to an office desk job, backaches and complaints are on the rise. This is because sitting in a chair for 8 hours straight is unnatural and puts unnecessary pressure on the lower spine. This pressure can cause stiffness and pain and if steps aren’t taken to alleviate it, these minor annoyances can become costly long-term injuries. Unless you want to spend the rest of your life visiting a chiropractor or physiotherapist, you need to be aware of the dangers of sitting down all day. This way, you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself.
Like millions of other Australians who sit at a desk each working week, it is essential you learn how to position yourself with the correct posture to ensure the health and longevity of your spine. We spoke with several medical professionals about their experiences helping those who neglected twinges in their backs while sitting at work, and are now paying the price through regular visits to a physio.
Here are some tips on how you can save your back, brought to you by a well-known Brisbane physiotherapist at Elliot Campbell Mobile Physiotherapy:
Tip #1 – Maintain a Healthy Posture
It’s easy to forget about correct posture and slump or slouch at your desk. Not only is this bad for your spine but it can also reduce your productivity at work. Ensure your feet are kept shoulder-width apart and flat on the ground and your lower back in supported. If your chair does not support your lower back, you can use a rolled up towel or small cushion and place it behind you for support, or switch to a more ergonomic chair.
Tip #2 – Pivot With Your Feet
Although it takes slightly more effort – pivot on your chair by moving your feet, not twisting your spine. Especially if you haven’t been moving for a while, twisting your spine can cause undue stress on your back and is just asking for trouble. A twinge after a twist can imply muscle strain or even disc herniation. Ensure this doesn’t even happen by always pivoting with your entire body.
Tip #3 – Maintain Strength and Flexibility
Many of us exercise or go to gym, but how much attention do we really give to our backs? Stretching is the key to flexibility, which is key for improved efficiency and performance during physical activities. Regular movement through our entire range of motion, and exercise to develop those muscles we rely on so much but often ignore, can save you. All physiotherapists will recommend balancing your muscle workouts across all body areas to maintain spinal alignment and prevent recurring back pain.
Tip #4 – Stay in Shape
Maintain a healthy weight and stay in shape through regular exercise. Walking to and from work or around a shopping centre once or twice a week is not enough! Dedicate a minimum of 30 minutes a day to moderately aerobic movement, where your heart rate increases and you find yourself getting puffed. This will mean you will have to do more than just have a light stroll around a park. Breaking a sweat now could save you from having to see a physio later. Not only does it makes sense for your back health, but regular exercise has a plethora of positive benefits on other aspects of your life as well.
Tip #5 – Get Up and Move Around Occasionally
This seems like common sense but many physiotherapy visits could have been avoided if only people got up and moved around once in a while. Try and get out of your chair for 5 minutes at least once an hour. Go and get yourself a drink, or take a toilet break. Whatever the reason, it’s good for you to take a break from sitting at your desk and you’ll appreciate the refreshing break from your work.
Follow the steps listed above and you should be able to maintain a healthy posture and spine even if you must work for long hours at a deskjob. If you would like more information on how to keep yourself in good shape be sure to check out the Mobile Physio Brisbane Blog for regular articles like this one.