Nearly 40 million American workers suffer from chronic back pain.
For many, this can be caused by working at a desk for a majority of the workday with poor posture. A healthy posture can help to alleviate pain, improving efficiency, and morale.
Follow these tips and keep reading for advice on improving work posture.
Tip 1: Look Out for Back Pain
Back pain can be debilitating, affecting every aspect of your life. Did you know that a major cause is poor posture?
It’s important that you’re aware of your back pain, and keep track of when it is most intense. That way you’ll be able to recognize patterns and help understand what could be causing it.
Keep track of when your back pain and ask yourself:
- Is it worse after a long day sitting at your desk in the office?
- Does it feel better at the weekend?
- Does the pain start in your neck, radiating down your back?
- Have you recently started a new job, got a new chair, or moved desk?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, then your back pain could be caused by the way that you sit when you work. If that’s the case, you can begin to experiment with your work station and habits. This could help drastically improve – and even completely heal – your back pain.
Tip 2: Alignment While You’re Sitting
While you’re sitting in your office chair, you can focus on improving your posture and sitting in alignment. Try to sit up straight with your ears, shoulders, and hips in one line from top to bottom. You can experiment with leaning slightly forward and slightly backward, as long as you keep your back straight.
Don’t be afraid to use the back of the office chair to support your back. Encourage the use of ergonomic chairs in your office. These are specially designed to support the natural and neutral position of your spine, reducing strain and pain.
Try to avoid unbalanced positions. This includes tilting your head to the side, hunching your shoulders, leaning to a particular side, and crossing your legs. All of these positions can put unnecessary and unhealthy pressure on your neck and back.
Tip 3: Posture-Friendly Props
Maintaining a neutral spine and neck position at your desk can be difficult. Fortunately, there are plenty of props and equipment that can help you to maintain a healthy posture.
At work, it’s best to use an ergonomic chair while sitting at your desk. This supports the natural shape of your spine and alleviates unnecessary pressure. Consider attaching lumbar support, small pillow, or towel to the back of your chair to support your lower back. Position your computer screen so that it is in line with your resting eye position. That way you won’t have to lean or tilt your head to see clearly.
When you use a bag try to use a rucksack, as this also encourages a healthy posture. A bag that is used on one shoulder can cause uneven weight distribution and back strain.
A footrest should be also used to make sure that there are 90 degrees between your torso and your thigh, and then 90 degrees between your thigh and your shin.
Tip 4: Keep Moving
One of the main reasons people who work desk jobs experience back pain is because they move less. Sitting in one position for a majority of the day encourages poor posture. As muscles become tired, it’s more likely that you’ll slouch. This leads to aches, pains, and discomfort.
People must take breaks from working, and move around regularly. Regular standing and stretching – including opening up the chest and reaching overhead – can counteract the side effects of slouching in your seat. Regular walks around the office or outside can also increase circulation, energy, and mood.
Regular exercise is another way to improve posture and comfort. Walking, cycling, and swimming help to improve cardiovascular fitness as well as physical strength. This encourages a natural posture, preventing injury and pain.
Tip 5: Standing Straight
But you can’t just forget about your posture when you’re standing. Even when you’re on your feet, you can make a conscious effort to improve your posture.
Try to avoid wearing high-heeled shoes too often, as they can affect your center of gravity. They can also force you to distribute your weight unevenly, knocking your body out of natural alignment.
Try to distribute your weight evenly while you’re standing. Ground down through the heel and big toe of both feet, keep your pelvis in a neutral position relax your shoulders.
Tip 6: Stay Aware
You should try to make a conscious effort to improve your posture as much as possible. This may be uncomfortable at first, but you will train your muscles to support your body’s natural neutral posture.
Try to maintain good posture as often as possible. This includes at work, as well as outside of the office. A healthy posture will benefit you in all aspects of life and will prevent long-term pain.
Improving Work Posture
There are plenty of ways to maintain a healthy work posture. This includes the equipment that you use, staying alert and aware of your posture, and staying active.
Improving work posture can be hugely beneficial to you as well as your company as a whole.
While you’re here, take a look at some of our other ideas to stay healthy and active.