Prolonged sitting can have negative effects on the health of your spine. It can put stress on the muscles in the back, shoulders, and neck, too. It can lead to back pain and other kinds of discomfort. And if you are working, this can also have an impact on your work productivity.
The good news is that there are things you can do to help lessen the effects of prolonged sitting to your spine. So, how to reduce the effects of sitting all day?
Seek Professional Help
If you are already experiencing back pain and other prolonged sitting-related problems, then you may want to seek the advice of a physiotherapist. He can design a plan of care that will help lessen the different symptoms you are experiencing. This can include physio exercise, manual therapy, massage, dry needling, and education about posture.
In many physiotherapy clinics, they can also advise you on some changes that you can observe both at home and in the workplace. They can assess your posture and make appropriate recommendations as to how you can correct it.
Moreover, physiotherapists can recommend changes or alterations in your workplace. The ideal height of your chair, for example, can help improve overall posture. It can also lessen the symptoms of prolonged sitting.
See Also: Fighting Back Against Back Pain
Observe the Correct Sitting Posture
In case you haven’t noticed, you can sit with the right posture in the first few hours of the workday. However, as you count the hours, you begin to slouch. This stretches the ligaments of your spine beyond their limits. This can lead to strain in the spinal discs, resulting in back pain.
That is why it is important to be very conscious about your sitting posture. Try to maintain the correct anatomical position of the spine at all times. If you notice yourself beginning to slide down from your chair, then correct it at once. Sit up straight and will yourself to assume the correct sitting posture again.
Get an Ergonomic Chair
Observing proper posture whenever you’re seated can help reduce the ill effects of prolonged sitting to the spine. However, there will always be instances when you will feel as if you cannot hold off the tendency to slouch anymore. The weight of your body puts stress on the different muscles of the back and neck. Sooner or later, you will find yourself slouching again.
One way you can avoid this is by investing in an ergonomic chair. There are several guidelines when it comes to choosing an ergonomic chair.
First, there should be ample support for the lower back. The height of the seat should also allow you to be at eye level with whatever it is you are working on. This means your gaze should always be parallel to the ground. Your elbows, thighs, calves, and arms should also be in their correct anatomical positions whenever you sit on the ergonomic chair.
Stand Every 30 Minutes
One of the most practical ways to help lessen the impact of prolonged sitting is by making a conscious effort to stand up every 20 to 30 minutes. Find a reason to stand up from your workstation. It could be to get a glass of water or to relieve yourself in the comfort room. You can go talk to an officemate for a project or task.
A minute or two of standing can help relieve the pressure from the spinal discs. If you can increase it to 5 minutes, then it’s better. This can help improve the symptoms that you may be experiencing.
Try a Sit-Stand Desk
An ergonomic chair only addresses the correct sitting posture but it does not address the need to lessen the effects of the muscle groups pulling down on the spine. This is where a sit-stand desk can come in. These are new creations that allow a work desk to transform from a standard table to a standing desk.
Such a transformation allows you to stay in your workstation while assuming a standing position. There is no need to go anywhere else. You can continue with your work without interruptions.
Knowing these tips on how to reduce the effects of sitting all day isn’t enough. It needs a more conscious effort on your part to maintain the proper sitting posture at all times. Taking the time to stand up and using ergonomic chairs and sit-stand desks can also help. Of course, getting a physiotherapist to help you is also important.
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Melanie graduated with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy from the University of Melbourne. During her degree she obtained clinical experience throughout the public and private systems. Melanie has completed all levels of Mat clinical Pilates from APPI (Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute). She is one of the Senior Physiotherapists at Capital Physiotherapy in South Yarra.