Correct posture and alignment, especially while sitting for prolonged periods, is essential for office workers in order to prevent work related pain and injuries. Admittedly, most of us sit with poor posture at some point, but when a person has to adopt their sitting position for long periods of time, often day in and day out, poor health issues can result.
Some consequences of prolonged incorrect sitting posture…
- Neck pain and spasm
- Interscapular/thoracic pain and stiffness
- Lower back pain
- Muscular tension throughout the shoulder girdle
- Wrist, forearm or elbow pain
- Potential for lumbar disc irritation/bulging
What to do about it…
Many people admit they know they have poor posture, but don’t know what to do about it. This is where education becomes crucial. Correct workstation setup is very simple to teach and the most effective preventative tool we have in helping people avoid the above potentially disabling problems.
At Perth Posture Centre we are well trained and experienced in educating patients about workstation setup, postural corrective exercises and manual therapy that will alleviate any problems that may have arisen from poor office work habits. We use a combination of soft tissue massage, trigger point release, spinal mobilisation, dry needling (acupuncture) and exercises to stretch and strengthen anti-gravity muscles as well as improving alignment when we are faced with these workers. As usual, early detection and referral for treatment is the key.
If I asked a group of people if they suffered from any pain or discomfort, the majority would say ‘yes’. Pain is so common these days and I constantly encounter complaints related to the lower back. Without some solid prevention strategies, the number of people suffering from this problem will continue to grow.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, a study examining mortality or poor health as a result of diseases placed low back pain as the sixth most troublesome condition in 1990. As of 2010, low back pain jumped to third place. Most other western nations are no different.
You read that correctly, as of 2010, low back pain ranked 3rd!
I’m going to jump right to it and mention 3 habits you need to change if you want to reduce lower back pain. While this isn’t the only list, nor does it completely cover everything involved it’s a great start to get you on a mission toward a more comfortable, pain free future.
1. You sit too often
Most of us know that sitting isn’t our friend. The problem is we still do it for long periods because life often demands it. You may sit during your meal times, on the ride to work, and while at your job. Like many, you may be sitting for 8-10 hours or more per day. If you’re concerned about your lower back, you need to start standing and moving around more often. If you are sitting in poor alignment for this amount of hours, your risk of incurring a serious problem increases.
2. You exercise with poor form or not at all
Whenever you exercise, pay attention to the way you’re performing your techniques and the position of your body. There’s a good chance the way you’re exercising and the kinds of activities you might be doing in the gym are contributing to an insidious problem. If you don’t exercise, this is your invitation to get cracking because exercise in proper alignment is beneficial for maintaining the integrity of your spine, as well as the rest of your body. It can also improve coordination, and develop proper posture and muscle balance.
3. You don’t pay attention to your body alignment during your daily routine
Sleeping, eating, washing the dishes, walking, and a host of other regular activities are often done in poor alignment. You should start thinking more about what you do on a consistent basis. What position do you sleep in? When you eat do you hunch forward? What is your body doing while you’re working? Pay special attention to anything you do daily, and mind your body alignment.
While this short list is not a call for you to scrutinize every little activity, I implore you to pay closer attention to what you’re doing and start making changes today. Lower back pain is unpleasant and far too common. Small but regular changes can make a big difference!