Sitting ‘Posture’

The research today has proven that any activity or movement boosts our cognitive function, mood, motivation and our nervous system. The World Health Organisation has recommended that the average adult (Age 18-64) should try and engage in vigorous exercise for 25 minutes, 5 times per week. With the stressful and sedentary lifestyles that is so common today how do we overcome this problem?

Our Physiotherapist Navneet shares a few thoughts on ‘posture’…

Movement has also shown to help reduce inflammation, reduce anxiety and provide a natural pain relief by releasing the chemical serotonin.

For a long time there has been an emphasis on correcting the perfect posture whilst sat at the desk, which has encouraged sitting in these new positions for even longer. Whilst this has short term benefits and can help manage any biomechanical pain, it is important to note that sitting in the same position for prolonged periods is not beneficial for the human body. In fact we are not designed for it.

A large proportion of patients treated at Complete Physiotherapy have painful symptoms which are aggravated by a sedentary lifestyle and with office based jobs.

Sitting in one position for too long encourages strain on parts of the body taking an excessive load.

Imagine if you bend your thumb back and hold this position for 30-60 minutes – it starts to really hurt doesn’t it?

This increased static posture will start to become fatigued and starts to increase in sensitivity and pain which leads to the tightness and stiffness that is commonly felt by the patients that we see in clinic. Add to that the stress of the job itself, maybe a lack of sleep from the night before and this sets off a whole cascade of events for pain!

The key here is ‘motion is lotion’. As Physiotherapists, we would recommend moving out of the fatigued periods by trying to move our body from the static position every 30-60 minutes.

Previously there has been an emphasis on correcting the perfect posture to the point where we think slumping is bad for us. In fact, research conducted recently by Professor Peter O’Sullivan has shown that there is not a link between sitting in a slumped position and causing low back pain.

The key message here is not about the position you sit in, it’s about the length of time you sit in it.

That does not mean to say ergonomic desk assessments are not useful, they really can help to reduce strain on the body during the short periods of time that you are working at the desk. If your desk has the standing desk then use it! Vary your positions regularly where you can.

To help encourage movement at the desk without feeling like you are taking a break too regularly. Start trying to do these very simple movements at your desk. Aim to do them every 2 hours:

  • Hand on head side bend
  • Chin tuck and protraction
  • Thoracic flexion/extension
  • Thoracic rotation stretch
  • Deep breathing exercise
  • Shoulder rolls

This circuit will take you approximately 4-5 minutes to do in total.

We would recommend this every 2 hours.

If you are struggling with work related neck/back pain our Physiotherapists at Complete Physiotherapy can help. Call today on 01189 462299 to book a session or to speak to one of our team.

We also have classes available to help contribute to your exercise recommendations by the World HealthOrganisation.