According to recent clinical trials, office workers spend an average of 73 percent of their working day and 66 percent of their waking day sitting. That’s a lot of time to spend at your desk! In the Triangle, office jobs abound—something that is great for the State’s economy, but not always the best for North Carolinians’ posture.
While our bodies are meant to move much more than they do in modern times, you don’t need to quit your day job to correct your posture. If you’re suffering from neck and back pain after sitting at your desk all day, Team Chiro is here to help. Below, we’ll discuss the connection between poor posture and pain: where it starts and how you can start to fix it.
Can Poor Sitting Posture Lead to Pain?
Let’s call a spade a spade: it can feel cozy and comfy to slouch down in your chair while you’re putting in hours at your job. But at the end of the day, you’ll likely be left feeling stiff, and may even have shooting pains.
Maintaining the correct sitting posture keeps your bones and joints where they’re intended to be in relation to the rest of your body. Proper bone and joint alignment leads to the efficient use of your muscular systems, prevents muscle fatigue, and helps reduce injury from strains, sprains, and overuse.
Good posture does more than just make you look a little taller and feel a little better, it also reduces wear and tear on your joints, protects your entire spine, and keeps stress off of your spinal ligaments.
Some patients with scoliosis or other spinal issues may find it difficult to maintain good posture. The experts at Team Chiro can help. We treat scoliosis by performing corrective adjustments to the spine, helping to alleviate curvature as well as pain and discomfort.
Can Poor Sitting Posture Lead to Pain?
Poor sitting posture can absolutely lead to pain. If you don’t know why your body hurts at the end of the day (it’s not like you were running and jumping!) the culprit could very well be poor posture. That’s because poor posture actually puts quite a bit of strain on your ligaments and the muscles that support your bones. Do you have tense shoulders and a sore upper back? Slouching forward will put a lot of undue pressure on the area between your shoulder blades. Further, awkward positions constrict your nerves and the blood vessels in your back, leaving you with achy joints, muscles, and spinal discs.
Standing vs Sitting at Your Desk: Is Standing Actually Better?
If you have a standing desk or are able to get your hands on one, we recommend using it throughout the day. You don’t need to use it all day to gain the benefits of standing, either. Try to mix it in—starting with about 50 percent of your working day standing, or whatever percentage you’re most comfortable with. Standing, as opposed to sitting, can reduce the frequency and severity of pain in your shoulders and back. Just make sure it’s at the proper height for your body, and you can maintain a proper standing posture, too.
Benefits of Proper Sitting Posture at Your Desk All Day
- Less back pain: Keeping your spine properly aligned while sitting at your desk all day is key to reducing back pain and keeping strain off your upper and lower back.
- Less neck pain: The neck and shoulders are one of the most common problem areas for patients who experience pain and stiffness. Poor sitting posture involves a misalignment of your posterior muscles, which leads to aches and pains in the neck.
- Fewer headaches: When your shoulders are angled forward and your head is turned down, you’re straining your neck without needing to. This poor positioning can often lead to tension headaches.
- Undisrupted digestion: Bad posture can actually lead to digestive issues. Slouching compresses your organs, slowing digestion and leading to stomach problems.
8 Tips for Proper Sitting Posture at Work
- Keep your pelvis against the back of your chair. It’s easy to scoot forward, but maintaining a neutral sitting position instead of slouching will prevent anterior and posterior pelvic tilt.
- Maintain a straight line from your ears to your hips. Your ears, shoulders, and hips should form a straight line against the back of your chair. Keeping a straight line through these three major points will protect the natural curve of your spine.
- If you have access to lumbar support, use it. Lumbar support is used to help support your lower back, preventing kyphosis (or the “hunchback effect.” You can create your own lumbar support with a small pillow or a rolled-up towel.
- Keep your hips and knees in a straight line. Your knees should be stacked over your knees, maintaining a straight line. Keeping your hips and knees at 90 degrees helps you to maintain a neutral spine and avoid back stiffness.
- Don’t place more weight on one hip than the other. Leaning to the side is natural, especially when we’re really leaning into our work. But placing more weight on one hip than the other can wreak havoc on your spine, causing it to curve over time.
- If your feet don’t touch the ground, adjust your chair. It’s important to keep both feet flat on the ground while you’re sitting at your desk. Even crossing your legs can put stress on the muscles that your back, pelvis, and hips need to support themselves.
- Your forearms should be parallel to the floor. You shouldn’t be reaching up or down to use your keyboard and mouse; rather, your forearms should be parallel to the floor. If this isn’t possible, you may need to adjust your seat.
- Keep your head pulled back. One of the most common incorrect sitting posture mistakes we see is a forward protruding head. For every inch your head moves forward, you’ll feel an additional 10 pounds of weight on your neck. Correct head positioning, on the other hand, leads to better breathing, less TMJ pain, and of course, a healthier spine.
Team Chiro: Your Chiropractic Experts in the Triangle
Are you achy and sore after sitting at your desk all day? Team Chiropractic & Sports Medicine, P.A. It can help. We’re currently welcoming new patients. Team Chiro is the home of evidence-based spinal reengineering and chiropractic sports medicine. We’re proud to serve the Research Triangle, from Raleigh to Chapel Hill, Research Triangle Park, Durham, Garner, Clayton, and surrounding areas in North Carolina.
Contact us online today or give us a call at 919-788-8881 to schedule your initial appointment and x-ray at either of our Triangle locations. We look forward to helping restore your health!