When you are not enjoying the warm weather that summer brings, it is likely that you are spending a good chunk of time sitting – whether in your office or on an airplane to your favorite summer destination. If you work an office job or spend your workday sitting at a desk of some kind, you are probably sitting for 40-50 hours a week. That means you are spending about 25% of your week sitting. All of that sitting may sound harmless or even relaxing, but there are health concerns that come with sitting for long periods of time – especially with poor posture. Here at Van Ness Chiropractic, we focus on teaching you how to avoid bad posture, as it often leads to more severe back problems later. With regular chiropractic care and the following tips, you’ll be able to counteract poor posture in the workplace.
Beware of These Common Bad Posture Practices
- If your shoulders are hunched forward, you are likely not sitting in alignment.
- Over-correcting posture. Your back should have a natural arch in the lower back area, but over-extending this arch can be just as harmful as slouching.
- Carrying items on the side of your body. You have that laptop bag that you cram everything into and you always carry it on the same shoulder. As with anything that causes your body to be out of balance, this can increase your likelihood of injury.
- Wearing high heels. Yes, these are seen as professional shoes, but they cause your back to arch, which unbalances your body.
- Wedging your phone between your shoulder and your ear. Your neck already holds up your very heavy head, so adding unnecessary movement compounds the strain.
Over time, sitting (and even standing, for that matter) with bad posture can cause your lumbar muscles to weaken from lack of use. This puts strain on your shoulders and neck as they are trying to correct your posture, making you more prone to injury. If you let your lumbar muscles get too weak, it can become uncomfortable to start sitting with good posture, thus creating a cycle of poor posture.
Breaking the Cycle of Bad Posture
Begin Practicing Good Posture
To find balanced posture, slouch on the edge of your chair before over-correcting and arching your lower back so that your shoulders fall back. Hold this over-correcting position for a few seconds before letting yourself unwind into a balanced posture. Remember that good sitting posture means that your ears, shoulders and hips are all in alignment. If you need to move when sitting, bend at your hips instead of at your back.
Get an Ergonomic Chair
If you spend a quarter of your week sitting in a chair, you may want to invest in a chair that supports your body and health. Ergonomic chairs provide support for the slight curve in your lower back, helping to balance and release strain in your body. This chair can also help you figure out what “good posture” looks like if you are having trouble finding it yourself. The doctors at Van Ness Chiropractic are also ready to help answer any of the questions you have, so you don’t have to guess at what is right and wrong for your body.
Take a Break From Sitting
Sitting for long periods of time truly can be harmful for the body. Your body and spine are meant for movement, and sitting can cause muscles to become stiff and strained. Standing up and stretching can release tension in muscles, relaxing them. Moving around can also redistribute the fluid that sits in the disks of the back.
Keeping your body in a healthy condition is paramount for maintaining good posture. Frequent, regular exercise allows your body to become comfortable with a wider range of motion, which then decreases your likelihood for injury when you decide to go for a hike on your summer vacation.
These are great tips to get you on the right track and counteract poor posture, but they cannot fix all your back problems. Regular adjustments from Dr. Van Ness and Dr. Parkin produces more sustainable, long-lasting results. Both doctors are available for appointments all summer. You can set up an appointment by calling them right now at 847-842-8070, or, click here for office availability.