Of course sitting with a nice straight back preserving the “J” curve in your low back and keeping your chest forward is so much better than slouching!
Be honest, how long and how staright can you be, during your 8-10 hour day at the desk?
Because all of your weight centres on the lowest three joints of the back, this makes you uncomfortable and the position impossible to maintain for longer than 20 minutes.
It’s for this reason most people slouch at work as sitting straight is not comfortable or easy to maintain.
Especially if you do office work for 6 to 8 hours a day.
The only way to maintain posture is if your chair is setup to fully support you and your back so you can relax in it with no effort.
Firstly, your lower back has a natural inward curve and you have to maintain this at all times. No matter how bad is your chair, if you prop your back with Mckenzie roll or any improvised round pillow (rolled bath towel), it will fully protect the curve.
Secondly, if you recline backwards slightly up to 45 degrees (with low back supported) it is not only very comfortable but, much easier not to slouch in that position.
Most good office chairs and car seats have built in capacity to recline and to support lower back.
Finally if you try this posture you may feel you now can’t reach your desk properly. The answer is to move your chair closer to the table to sit more under the desk, resting your forearms on it comfortably.
Here is desktop setup in more detail:
1. The backrest is slightly reclined, this takes a lot of pressure off your low back. This also extends (bends it backwards) the natural curvature of your back, making it more comfortable. If your chair doesn’t allow for this mild recline and low back support, use a McKenzie foam roll or other low back support cushion to support your low back.
2. Notice, that the shoulders are relaxed to avoid tension in the neck, because the armrests are low enough to allow for that. If your chair has armrests, lower them down or take them off completely to suit your arm length. Your chair armrests must be removed if they don’t allow your chair to be moved under the table.
3. The wrists are resting on the table supported in front of the keyboard, not suspended over it. Move your keyboard deeper into the table to allow for that and move your chair deeper under the table top to let your arms rest comfortably not reaching too far and not to be tucked in too close to your body.
4. Your knees are under the table to provide a correct distance for your arms to reach keyboard and mouse, also to have a correct distance between your eyes and the monitor. This helps to avoid straining your eyes or protruding your head forward. It is not good to be too close to the monitor, it should be approximately on the distance of the arm reach and eye level.
5. Your feet can be resting on the foot stand to keep your legs in the relaxed position. When your desk is slightly lower and chair fits well under the table, you might not need foot stand, providing your feet comfortably resting on the floor.
6. Make sure the height of the chair in relation to your table is correct to ensure all above. Most of the chairs can be adjusted, you just need to find a correct lever.
7. Monitor must be in front of you, not on the side of the table. If it is on the side you will be looking sideways all the time, causing uneven tension in the neck. You will also be twisting your shoulder to reach and use the mouse, causing tightness and pain in the shoulder.
8. Make sure to take frequent breaks – at least every 30 minutes and stretch your neck and shoulders using few simple stretches, recommended by us.
9. When on the phone, don’t type at the same time, unless using a hands free and please don’t hold your phone using your shoulder.
10. You have to feel comfortable all day long and if it’s not the case, try to think where is the problem, read this again and try to re-adjust your position at the desk.
If your chair is not comfortable, improvise on the sofa or arm chair this “low back supported, shoulders relaxed, resting wrists posture”!
The Back Pain Centre – East London Chiropractic is open during Lockdown for couple of days a week for Emergency Care and Key workers. Lines are open for advice and recommendation daily on 02089893338