Posture Matters on the Job

In the last few years there have been a spate of studies that appear to show that sitting is bad for your health. Yet, you may not have the opportunity to take frequent breaks or to use a standing desk. What should you do?

Dr. Arash A. Dini has seen the impact of too much sitting in many of his patients, and he and his staff want to help you avoid the unnecessary pain and discomfort that can result from too many hours in the chair. We understand that your job may require the use of a desk, but with close attention to ergonomics and good posture, you can maintain good health. 

The effects of poor posture

There are some obvious results of sitting for too long. Your tailbone may hurt, or you might have a niggling pain in your lower back. But the effects of sitting for hours upon hours each day, particularly if you’re slouching, leaning forward, have your shoulders hunched up, or you’re holding your head at an odd angle, can be quite debilitating

Imagine you’re sitting at your desk, looking at a laptop. It’s lower than your eyes, so you lean forward a bit to see clearly. That slight extension of your head forward puts pressure on the structures of your neck. Normally, your shoulders help hold the weight of your head, but when your head is extended forward, your neck has to carry all the weight. 

Usually when your head is pushed forward, your shoulders hunch up a little, too. This unnatural position creates weakness in some of the muscles around your shoulder blades, which over time, becomes a chronic muscle imbalance. In fact, you may develop an imbalance in your glutes and hip flexors as well. 

Sitting in a slouched, forward position can also affect your blood pressure and digestion, as well as your mood. And, of course, there’s the issue of lower back pain. 

What you can do

Even if you don’t have many options as far as using a standing desk or taking extra breaks, there are some things you can do to counteract the damage that sitting for hours can do. First, discuss what good posture actually is with Dr. Dini. You may be surprised. 

Another important step is to consider the ergonomics of your work space. Raise your computer screen so that you don’t need to crane your neck forward and down to see well. Make sure your chair is at a comfortable height, where your feet can rest on the floor while your knees are at a 90 degree angle. You may need to consider a foot prop. 

Check the angle of your elbows when you’re using your keyboard. Are they at 90 degrees as well? Can you sit back comfortably in your chair, while maintaining good posture? 

Even if you can’t take a break and go outside or take a quick walk, consider standing and stretching a couple of times every hour. Take a few seconds and stretch your neck, your hamstrings, and your shoulders. These quick releases serve to ease muscle tension, as well as to remind you to pay attention to your posture. 

If you’ve noticed the muscles in your back and neck are tight, or you’re concerned because you sit for so long each day, schedule an appointment to see Dr. Dini at one of our offices in Los Angeles or Encino, California. 

He can guide you through developing good posture, and offer additional tips on proper ergonomics. And, if you’re already dealing with the effects of poor posture, he can help you begin to heal and strengthen the muscles that are weak.

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