If you sit improperly for only a few hours a week, you are at risk for getting back, neck and shoulder pain. How many of us end up doing this for 40 hours a week at our jobs? This doesn’t even include the few extra hours at home during the evenings and weekends. This poor sitting posture attributes to one of the most common contributors to orthopedic injuries.
Here are five tips for proper sitting posture:
Tip #1: Put hips to the back of your chair
Move your hips as far back into the chair as they can go. This will help your body maintain full contact with the back of the chair, while also allowing the muscles that keep your back upright to relax. This rids of any aches and pains that occur when trying to keep your back stiff.
Tip #2: Thighs and forearms parallel to the floor
Your thighs and forearms must be parallel to the floor. This means you might have to adjust the height of your chair and/or your desk. If neither is possible, try to use a support under your feet.
Tip #3: Look straight ahead
Make sure to look straight ahead when working. This means keeping your screen at head level. This almost means that using a laptop for a long time is out of the equation unless you are able to prop it up to eye level, and use a separate keyboard and mouse that will be in line with your elbows.
Tip #4: Use a lumbar support
If you chair does not properly cradle your lower back curve (commonly referred to as the lumbar spine), with a built in support, then get one. You can purchase a lumbar support or roll and attach it to your chair to match the curve in your lower back. If you are buying a lumbar support or roll, make sure that the bottom of it is approximately at the same level with the top of your pelvis.
Tip #5: Work with your elbows at your sides
Be conscious of how often you are leaning or reaching forward while you are working. Remedy this by sitting closer to your desk, or bringing the keyboard and mouse closer to you. Another beneficial option (if your desk allows it) is to use a keyboard tray installed to your desk.
Follow these five tips and you’ll have proper sitting posture, and can alleviate any back, neck and shoulder pain caused by it. However, even with proper sitting posture, sitting for long hours can take a toll on your body. Make sure to schedule in times in your workday to stand up and stretch every once in a while to combat any stress and strain on your body.