Do you have a sore back, aching shoulders and a pounding headache at the end of the work day? It could be that you need to check your posture and make some improvements in how you position your body. Poor workplace posture is a major cause of back pain and stress, and it can lead to repetitive strain injuries. If left untreated, bad posture can adversely affect your health, morale and work productivity.
Let’s start out by defining posture. Posture is the position in which you hold your body against the forces of gravity during standing or sitting. Good posture is not intuitive. Instead, you must train your body to sit, stand and walk in ways that place the least amount of stress on your muscles and ligaments (Source: The Physiocompany).
Because most people spend their workday in a seated position, here are some tips to help you maintain good posture as you sit:
1. Adjust the height of your chair so the height is just higher than your knee.
2. Tilt the seat of your chair slightly forwards to rotate your pelvis so your spine stays neutral.
3. Sit back into your chair so it can support your back and spine.
4. Keep your feet flat on the floor. Do not cross your legs.
5. Move your chair closer to your desk so you are not stretching your upper body forwards.
6. Keep your head directly above your shoulders.
7. Pull back your shoulder blades to avoid slouching.
8. Use a lumbar support pillow to relieve lower back pain.
9. Engage lower abdominals by pulling the belly button into the spine.
10. Get up and move around every 30 minutes to prevent muscle stiffness (Source: Spine Health).
Good posture takes some practice, so be patient with yourself. Take a moment to jot down the posture tips on a Post-It note and attach it to your computer monitor. Studies show that it takes 30 days to establish a new habit, so get started today. If you still have persistent pain after taking steps to improve your posture, contact your primary care physician for an appointment.