If you work a desk job, you’ve likely struggled with maintaining a healthy posture throughout the day. When you’re engrossed in your work, you often don’t realize you’ve progressively slouched over your keyboard. In fact, it often takes a pinch of pain in your neck or back to alert you to this issue.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, bad posture is the major culprit behind back problems for over 80% of Americans.
Learn more about how your posture at work affects your health from the experts at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers.
What Effect Does Bad Posture Have?
Aside from overall pain and discomfort, bad posture can lead to multiple health and psychological issues.
- The most obvious negative physical side effect of bad posture while at work is soreness and pain in the back and shoulders. By holding your body in this unnatural position, it puts excess strain and tension on these areas.
- Slouching can also affect your pelvis. In particular, those who slouch often have issues with pelvic floor dysfunction, which later leads to urinary retention, pain during intercourse, and constipation.
- Similarly, poor posture can severely impact your digestive health. Stomach issues like acid reflux and heartburn can occur when slouched, as it means your abdomen is compressed and cannot do its job properly.
- Slouching all day while you work means you’re decreasing your flexibility and limiting your range of motion in your neck and back.
- A special kind of headache is caused by poor posture: cervicogenic headaches. They originate from pain in the neck and strain on the joints. If you start to have more headaches at the base of your head, posture could be the culprit.
- Bad posture even leaks into your self-confidence. Have you ever heard of power poses? Studies show that performing a power pose for several seconds before having to make a major decision, give a presentation, or do something stressful can increase a person’s level of confidence. When you slouch, you do the opposite of a power pose, meaning your self-esteem could be taking a major hit.
Tips for Improving Bad Posture at Work
After reviewing these negative side effects, you’re likely wondering what you can do to avoid them and improve your posture at work. We’ve got you covered with these tips from our expert medical team.
How Should You Be Sitting?
- Start off by sitting at the end of your chair and slouch completely. Next, draw yourself up and lean into the curve of your back as far as possible. Then lean forward again just at about 10 degrees. That’s the position you should aim for.
- A good rule of thumb is to keep your ears in line with your shoulders. Don’t lean too far forward or too far backward.
- Your bottom should always be touching the back of your chair.
- Don’t cross your legs. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
- If possible, avoid sitting in the same position for 30 minutes. Getting up and stretching each half-hour is a great way to keep your posture in check.
- Distribute your weight evenly at both hips.
- Your spine shouldn’t be totally straight. Your lower back should be slightly curved as should your neck.
- Position your work and your desk so that you can sit as close as possible and have your computers tilted up to you.
- Remember to relax your shoulders from time to time. It’s easier to do this if you have your arms and elbows resting on your desk or chair arms.
Posture Correcting Exercises
If you’re feeling the pain of a bad slouch, try out these exercises to help ease the discomfort:
- Lift your shoulders up and down.
- Rotate your head slowly around in a full circle several times and then reverse your direction.
- Slouch all the way forward so your spine is making a C shape. Do the opposite by sticking your chest out as far as it can go so your spine now has a sharp curve. Alternate and breath through each position.
- Lift your arms above your head and clasp your hands together. From there, stretch to the left then the right.
If you’re experiencing back or neck paid for any reason, including your posture at work, know there are treatments available to help. Click here to schedule an appointment with Alliance Spine and Pain Centers today and start working towards the pain relief you deserve.