If you spend more than a few hours sat at a desk each day, it’s important to sit the right way. Carrington College Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program 1 students Vanessa and Martha show us how to have proper posture when you’re sitting at your desk.
Are You Slouching Right Now?
Come on, be honest… If you’re sitting right now, reading this on your computer, tablet or phone, are you slouched in your chair?
You might think that slouching is the most comfortable way to sit at your desk, but long term it’s not going to help you with future health problems. PTA student Vanessa, with her classmate Martha demonstrating good posture, explains why. “It’s going to cause back pain, headaches, or even possible neck pain,” she said.
Show Off Your Necklace or Bow Tie…What?
Who wants back pain if they can avoid it, right? So rather than slouch, what’s the best way to sit?
“You want to scoot forward, sit forward in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. A cue that I give patients is to imagine you either have a really nice bow tie or you have a really nice necklace you want to show off to everybody – that kind of helps you bring your chest out and it helps align your ears to your shoulders,” explained Vanessa.
Computers & Back Pain
Hours spent using a computer contributes to many people’s back issues. Did you know that more than 80% people using computers for more than 4 hours a day complain of back pain? 2
If you sit at a desk and using a computer keyboard every day, Vanessa advises that you try to keep your elbows at a 90 degree angle, and keep everything very relaxed. If you’re suffering from back pain or neck pain, that could be a clue that you’re sitting incorrectly.
Office Furniture Hacks
Office furniture has come a long way over the last couple of decades. But even today it can present challenges, as Vanessa explains. “Office furniture can be more beneficial to taller people. If you’re a little shorter then you may need to bring in a step stool for your feet. It can help you keep your feet flat, just in case you need to sit further back in the chair. It’ll keep everything in alignment if your keyboard isn’t movable, or if your chair isn’t adjustable,” she explained.
So it’s so important to have your spine at a natural position, but what does that really mean? The video shows how your spine should look every day; “it should feel very relaxed, there shouldn’t be any pain,” said Vanessa. “If you can keep your spine in a natural position, that’ll help create fewer back and neck problems, and it’ll help create a healthy spine for the rest of your life to keep it feeling well!” she added.
Try to Maintain Natural Alignment
So if you’re still slouched in your chair reading this, know that it’s not going to be more comfortable long term! But why is it more comfortable to slouch? “The reason why most people want to slouch is because they’re using their muscles to force their spine how they want it to go. But if you keep the natural alignment, you shouldn’t feel like you need to take a break. It’s okay to take breaks if you’ve been working really hard, but the main thing to remember is to keep your posture correct,” Vanessa added.
Next time you find yourself slouching, remember: back straight, chest out, feet flat on the floor, and elbows at 90 degrees. In about 20 years you’ll thank yourself for getting into good posture habits now!
Want to learn more about Carrington College’s Physical Therapist Assistant program? Click here!
1 – Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rate of students who attended this program can be found at http://carrington.edu/degrees/physical-therapist-assistant/
2 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3669474/