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Desk posture hacks to prevent back pain

If you’ve returned to work all smug about how bolt-upright straight you’re sitting, you’re partly right. However, many of us can take this posture logic too far. 

While our chiros encourage us all to avoid slouching and keep our ears aligned with our shoulders, sitting up TOO straight can CAUSE back pain and lead to chronic pain problems by placing unnecessary strain on spinal discs and associated muscles and tendons. It may be as bad as slouching forward. So what’s optimal? 

Research using specialised MRIs found that the best body-thigh angle for sitting was not 90 degrees but a more relaxed 135 degrees, with feet flat on the floor. However, simply reclining the back of your chair may remove support that places strain on the back and neck.

Takeaway? Ask someone to take a side-on and frontal photo of you seated at your desk chair and have your chiropractor appraise your sitting position and recommend tweaks for healthy sitting posture.

If you’re back at work or about to return, you’re probably too busy thinking about healthy lunches and ironing to consider how your desk height, chair and sitting position could affect your working life throughout the year. Yet good sitting posture can prevent discomfort and pain and even help with functions such as digestion. If you’re working from home, consider upgrading or adjusting your work station in line with these tips from SH chiro Dr John. Or, if you’re working in an office, consider making any requests to bring your work station into line.

Correct desk sitting posture:

  • Monitor: Adjust the monitor to the eye level and slightly tilted upwards. You can look slightly down with your eyes without moving the neck to avoid forward head posture.
  • Arms/Shoulders: Relax arms/shoulders. Elbows should be at 90 degrees with forearms parallel to the floor. Keep wrists relaxed and in a neutral posture. 
  • Desk/table: A good gauge for desk or table height is your own elbow height. 
  • Chair/back support: Seating should align with the natural curves of the spine.
  • Legs: Thighs are horizontal with a 90 to 110-degree angle at the hip. Feet should be flat on the floor. 
  • Breaks: Schedule breaks for every 30 minutes. At these intervals, stand up, stretch or walk around, have a drink of water. 

If you are suffering back or neck pain or discomfort or would like to establish lifestyle habits that promote wellness and prevent spine and posture issues, consider consulting a chiropractor, who can recommend personalised changes for optimal overall health and wellbeing.

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