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How to Maintain Proper Posture at Work - Office Ergonomics

man sitting up straight at deskWe often forget about our posture and the importance this has on our overall wellbeing. Working long hours in the office and sitting at our desks all day can have a negative impact on our posture. Bad habits and incorrect posture can lead to undue stress to the spine.

Naturally, we’re all guilty of this from time to time. Even your chiropractor may be caught slouching now and again. However, it’s important to be aware and try to limit this bad habit as much as possible. Especially when considering we spend up to 6-8 hours sitting in front of a desk almost every day. Over time, our body naturally adjusts to the posture we adapt and over time this can have a significant impact.

Bad posture can develop long-term health problems such as sciatica pain, osteoarthritis, joint arthritis, or even herniated discs. Some other dangers of bad posture are:

  • Neck and back pain
  • Weakened core muscles
  • Headaches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weakness on one or both legs
  • Moodswings
  • Reduced oxygen to the heart and brain
  • Fatigue
  • Poor digestion
  • Difficulty pumping oxygen to the heart and lungs, causing internal organ malfunction.

Besides all the health reasons, posture can affect your overall quality of life and lower your self-confidence and productivity. However, the good news is that there are ways to improve it and release undue stress on your muscles and spine.

Keeping a neutral posture helps keep your spine in its natural alignment. Slouching can cause nerve pinching and muscle tension. Try to remember from time to time to take short breaks from your desk to get up and stretch. And also don’t forget to keep track of your neck and back pain. Symptoms can get worse with time and you need to be aware.

Workplace Equipment You Need

Chair: Choose a chair that supports your spinal curves and it’s comfortable. The height of the chair should be appropriate so your feet can rest flat on the floor and your thighs are parallel.

Don’t cross your legs: Crossing your legs while sitting is terrible for posture and circulation. It’s better to avoid sitting with your laptop on the couch or in bed.

Desk: One important aspect of desk ergonomics is a proper desk height where you keep your hands and arms in the most natural way possible. The average height of a computer desk should be from 70 to 76 centimeters.

Monitor: Place the monitor directly in front of you. The top of the screen should be at eye level. Prevent your shoulders from moving forward to look at the monitor. Most people find the position difficult to hold at first and can’t hold the posture for more than five minutes initially. Try this position and increase the hold time gradually until you can hold for 20 minutes. It may be best to go all the way forward, then back a few times until you get a good gauge for where the middle is.

Keyboard and mouse: Your keyboard and mouse should be placed at the same surface level. Use keyboard shortcuts to reduce extended mouse use. While typing or using your mouse keep your wrists straight, your upper arms close to your body, and your hands at or slightly below the level of your elbows.

Telephone: Keep your phone and other belongings close to you so you can minimize reach. If you’re making frequent phone calls, use headphones so you don’t wave your head or neck constantly.

Invest in computer ergonomics so you can reduce the specific risks of computer vision problems, and neck and back pain.

How to Correct the Sitting Position?

  • Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back.
  • Head right above shoulders and hips.
  • Arms not too high or low.
  • Try to sit even and not lean on one side.
  • Knees at the same height or slightly lower than hips.
  • Elbows approximately 90 degrees.
  • Forearms and thighs parallel to the floor.
  • Avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 minutes.

Working from home has become the new norm since the pandemic. Even if you have trained to keep the correct posture at home or office during work, humans weren’t programmed to sit all day for 6-8 hours. You should get up and move every hour so your muscles can relax and get your blood flowing.

Also, try a posture corrector which can lead to awareness of your current posture shortfalls. There are a lot of different options available in the market. Some include electronics and magnets too.

Try to exercise as much as you can in your free time. Stretching your muscles can help you with back pain and your overall health.

It can be hard sometimes to tell the difference between acute and chronic back pain but time is a good indicator. It depends on how long your symptoms are persisting and if you are getting better or not.

If you are experiencing chronic back pain there are some options worth trying:

  • Physical therapy
  • Massage
  • Chiropractic treatments
  • Acupuncture
  • Mindfulness training

If you are experiencing other symptoms associated with your pain, make sure to see a doctor.

These symptoms might be:

  • A lot of discomfort, weakness, or numbness
  • Loss of bladder function
  • High fever
  • Stomach pain
  • Weight loss

Seeing a Local Chiropractor

Seeing a chiropractor can help you pinpoint exactly where the issues lie with your current posture. An initial consultation examines where exactly your current pressure points are and overall posture.

If you are in Auckland, our chiropractor Manukau & Papakura based team is able to provide face to face consultations. That way, you can get straight forward and custom consultations as well as a chiropractic adjustment.

Going to a natural chiropractic centre can play a part in your overall wellbeing and a reminder about your posture. As previously mentioned, we’re all guilty of falling back into bad habits when it comes to posture. Especially in an office environment where we are having to sit between 6 to 8 hours a day.

Regular chiropractic care can be a way to regularly remind yourself to maintain a proper posture and fix any issues.

If you aren’t sure whether you are maintaining proper posture, then a visit may help clear any doubts and questions. Naturally, at our family chiropractic office we have a desk and computer setup for our admin staff. Although not conventional, we can assess your office ergonomics and sitting posture at our chiropractor South Auckland clinic.