Orthopedic Associates' Blog


Orthopedic Associates' Blog

Improving your posture when sitting at your desk
Improving your posture when sitting at your desk

By: Dr. Cynthia Byler

Most people have terrible posture when sitting at a desk. What’s worse is that many of us know this truth. In fact, you may have already straightened your back and squared your shoulders while reading this article. People are sitting more than ever before, a staggering 9.3 hours of sitting every day. The saying is true, “Sitting is the new smoking!”

According to the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, people who sit for extended periods of time are 24% more likely to die from health conditions. A sedentary workspace also contributes to chronic back pain, heart disease, colon and breast cancer, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and type-2 diabetes. Together, these diseases are responsible for 63% of deaths each year. (PGDA)

Switching to a standing desk alternative for at least part of your work day and being mobile between meetings and projects can be excellent ways to limit the effects of sitting. Changing how you sit can also ensure your body stays healthy and strong. Here are a few simple changes you can implement at your desk to improve your posture and save your health.

Move your chair

A major factor in maintaining healthy posture at a desk is how closely your chair is positioned to your desk. Many people manning a desk have their chair spaced too far away from their desk. This can cause an unnecessary forward lean that strains your hips and sags your abdomen. Move your chair to an appropriate length away from your desk so your arms can comfortably rest on your desktop and your back receives support from your chair.

Uncross your legs

Sitting with your legs crossed can strain your hip joints and lower back muscles. Place your feet flat on the floor to give your body a strong foundation for pivoting. Try not to extend your legs away from your chair because it tends to pull your lower back away from the chair back. If you’re having difficulty placing your feet fully flat on the floor, try lowering your chair height or replacing your chair with one that has a more appropriate height level. Your back and hips will thank you later.

Square your shoulders

Hunched shoulders are often thought of as the telltale sign of poor posture, but sitting slumped to one side can be just as damaging to your posture. If you do want to lean to one side, raise the height of your armrest to provide the support to keep your spine mostly in the center of your chair’s back rest. Square your shoulders and head to where your ears rest naturally over the center of your shoulders. This allows your head to comfortably float above your shoulders with straining your neck or spine.

Poor posture can often be adjusted with some simple orthopedic stretches. More serious posture problems may require extensive orthopedic treatment. If your posture is causing your noticeable pain, your first step is to connect with one of our board-certified physicians. Click here to schedule your next appointment or contact any of our St. Louis area locations.

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