Workplace posture is essential for maintaining a healthy body and preventing pain. There are a number of problems that are caused by poor postures, such as sitting or standing in an unnatural position for long periods of time, muscle imbalances, joint problems, and a decrease in circulation. Even scoliosis and poor posture are related. However, here are a few simple tips that can help with those.
The Importance of Good Workplace Posture
As mentioned before, there are a number of reasons why good workplace posture is so important. Perhaps the most important reason is that it helps to prevent pain: jaw and neck pain, back pain, headaches.
Another reason why good workplace posture is so important is that it can help improve your circulation, prevent fatigue, dizziness, and even fainting.
It Improves Your Breathing
Good workplace posture is also important because it can help to improve your breathing. When you sit or stand in a hunched position, your chest cavity cannot expand as it should. This leads to shallow breathing. Shallow breathing stimulates the part of your autonomic nervous system called the sympathetic nervous system which is tied to anxiety and nervousness. Having an open chest and allowing deep belly breathing results in more freedom in your lung capacity, which helps produce feelings of calm.
Decreases Muscle Tension
When you sit for long periods of time with poor posture, your muscles tighten up, in an attempt to straighten you up. Over time, the muscles maintain their tension and promote disk compression and degeneration in the spine.
By sitting up straight, you are engaging all the muscles neecessary for good posture. Instead of muscle atrophy, you will build up the stamina to sit correctly for long periods of time. This will spare your discs and spine from degeneration. Due to your back being straight, the frequency of it going out of alignment will be reduced.
Be More Confident and Productive
People with good posture exude confidence. There is a multitude of science that proves that your posture will directly affect your emotions, and therefore your action. It helps you to feel confident, receptive and positive. When your body’s systems are in proper order, combined with confidence and positivity, productivity is also increased.
The more you make it a habit of having good posture, the more you should notice the improvement in your health in general, including your central nervous system, breathing, circulation, muscle formation, digestion, comfort, and confidence.
The Effects of Bad Workplace Posture
Bad posture and sitting for extended periods of time can seem to be harmless in the short term, but over time, the effects can be absolutely devastating. Some have had to get metal supports put in their backs because of poor posture. Improper posture can cause a number of problems, including headaches and muscle fatigue, and soreness.
Anterior Head Posture
The majority of cell phone users, and those who work from home, have an issue with leaning forward too much. Leaning forward puts 10 pounds of pressure on your neck for every additional inch it is flexed forward. This anterior head posture will lead to muscle imbalances and joint problems. It can also contribute to rotator cuff pain in the shoulder. People that are suffering from anterior head posture, typically have pretty serious headaches, as well as jaw pain from clenching their teeth.
Reduced Lung Capacity
Being in a hunched position subsequently causes difficulty breathing. This is because the powerful diaphragm muscle is constricted. It is believed that sitting improperly can reduce lung capacity. Breathing done right means more oxygen is being supplied to your brain and blood, which leads to better mental and physical health. Better breathing means you can expect less fatigue and pain.
Poor circulation is something else to consider. This may manifest as your foot falling asleep, brain fog, and cold hands and feet. Surprisingly, problems with your circulation can cause pain in your back and shoulders. As mentioned earlier, bad posture can reduce your lung capacity which will make it harder to deliver oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.
Digestion is affected because slouching causes the stomach and intestines to be compressed. Food can’t be pushed through like it normally would which delays digestion, allows the food to rot, and causes an imbalance in the gut microbiota. In addition, it can also lead to heartburn, or otherwise called acid reflux. Read more about how poor posture can lead to digestive difficulties here.
The spine is supposed to be in an elongated ‘S’ shape, but slouching causes this position to be compromised. Unfortunately, this can cause spinal dysfunction, degeneration of the joints, and the shoulders to round. A quick way you can evaluate yourself is the following: if you have a friend near you, have them take a side profile view picture of you standing and look at where your head is in relation to the rest of your body. The middle of the ear should be right above the middle of the shoulder.
7 Tips for Improving Your Workplace Posture
Here are seven tips for better posture while working from home:
- Make sure your chair is at the right height. Your feet should be flat on the ground and your knees should be at a 90-degree angle.
- Sit up straight and avoid slouching. Keep your shoulders back and down, and your chin parallel to the ground.
- Take breaks often to move around and stretch. Get up and walk around every 30 minutes or so. Moving into another position can instantly help when you start to feel tension or fatigue.
- Use a supportive ergonomic office chair. Avoid sitting in a squishy chair, and use a lumbar support. Invest in a good quality office chair that supports your back and thighs properly. If getting a new chair is out of the question consider using a lumbar support pillow.
- Do some simple stretches throughout the day. Make sure that you are doing neck and upper back stretches. Stretching in general would help. These stretches are provided by Dr. D at Peakiropractic.
- Consult a chiropractor if you are experiencing consistent pain or discomfort in your muscles or joints.
- Massage therapy is another option to consider. When the muscles are too tight, they can pull on the bones, also causing the spine to be out of balance. The reason muscles pull on the bones is that the unused muscles eventually tighten. The tightening results in compaction of the spine.
By following these tips, you can help improve your posture and avoid pain in the back and shoulders. Good posture is essential for a healthy body and a productive workday. If you’re working remote, check otu our article on 5 things to do while working from home.
How Chiropractic Care Can Reverse the Effects of Poor Posture
Chiropractors are known to work wonders for people who have trouble with their posture. They usually start off with a consultation to know what exactly is going on with your body. During the exam, your chiropractor may ask you to do some form of physical capabilities test and feel the areas over your spine and joints. Chiropractors also specialize in myofascial release. Usually, specific stretches and exercises will be assigned to you to do as your homework.
Overall, bad posture can lead to many different health issues. It is important to be aware of your posture and try to correct it if you find yourself slouching. There are many ways to improve your posture, and chiropractic care is a great option. If you live in the DFW area, make sure to schedule an appointment with PEAKiropractic so you can get back to doing life the easy way!
Kang KW, Jung SI, Lee do Y, Kim K, Lee NK. Effect of sitting posture on respiratory function while using a smartphone. J Phys Ther Sci. 2016 May;28(5):1496-8. doi: 10.1589/jpts.28.1496. Epub 2016 May 31. PMID: 27313358; PMCID: PMC4905897.