We’ve all heard these statements before: Sitting is a disease, and it kills. The case against sedentary lifestyles and desk jobs is ramping up. Presently, work environments encourage workers to sit for hours. But sitting for long periods is linked to incurable disease and affects your spine.
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Have you ever seen how your posture looks whenever you’re sitting in front of a desk? If not, imagine a goose with its neck stretched out, down, and far from its body.
Yes, the physiology of a goose can maintain this posture, but not humans – we aren’t that lucky!
Now, imagine sitting in front of your desktop computer with your neck extending out, and away from your body. Chances are, you’re going to bend your head downward to look at the screen properly.
While this may seem harmless, the long-term side effects of this posture can affect your spine health. What’s more, this condition has a medical diagnosis: it’s sometimes called Forward Head Posture (FHP) or a ‘computer neck.’
Surprised? Don’t be.
So, how does a desktop job impact your spinal health?
Chronic Shoulder and Neck Pain
FHP occurs when your spinal system adjusts itself in opposition to the force of gravity, causing long-term health and posture issues over time.
Further, research indicates that Forward Head Posture has more impact on the musculature of your shoulder and neck, resulting in consistent pain. Most times, people often report this kind of pain in the workplace.
Lower-back Pain and injury
Forward Head Posture (FHP) puts a lot of strain on your entire body. This includes the Psoas minor and major muscles that attach to your femur and goes upwards through your pelvis. Having a desktop job means long-term dependence on FHP.
As a result, your posture can send these muscles into consistent spasm. The result is stress, chronic lower-back pain, and of course, poor spinal health. If this continues for an extended period, it can cause spinal injury, costing you mobility and comfort.
How to improve your spine health
Yes, you may feel restful in your work chair with a good sitting posture, but remaining in the same position for an extended period is not good for your spine. Change your poses by moving around for a few minutes every thirty minutes to help keep your muscles and spinal joints loose and pain-free.
Also, you can use sit-stand desks, which allow you to change from a sitting to standing position. One amazing benefit if using sit-stand desks is that you can still maintain your desktop setting.
But if you don’t have these desks, you can avoid spinal injury by using these tips:
- Instead of having a meeting in an office setting, ask your co-workers to walk with you.
- Work while standing at a high counter or table.
- Set a desktop alarm for a stretch or walk break every thirty minutes.
- During your lunch break, take a short walk.
Put simply, you should reduce the number of hours you sit in a day. But, know that different postures are good for your neck and back. So don’t miss the point and never sit. Combining sitting, movement, and standing during the day is the best way to keep your spine healthy at work and home.
If you're in serious pain or discomfort, come see your local Bellevue Chiropractor, Dr. Lonny Skjervheim at Bellevue Sports and Family Chiropractic.