Sitting Properly: Decrease Pain and Improve Productivity

Originally written and posted by the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors

 Research has shown, sitting at work accounts for one-third to one-half of sitting time. Sitting at your desk, in meetings and in your car to and from work, are common for most people. You’re most likely sitting while reading this blog.

Sitting for prolonged periods can cause back, neck and shoulder pain.

Most think you’re more likely to injure yourself during activities like golfing or gardening, but sitting for extended periods of time while at work can produce chronic pain and can limit range of motion for many people. There are ways however, to ensure your office job doesn’t mean more pain than productivity.

Move Around

It may seem simplistic, but even getting up and stretching every hour or so can go a long way in preventing pain. Sitting in the exact same position for long periods of time can cause muscles to stiffen and can slow circulation.

A great device created with the intention to keep your blood circulating is a very simple desktop unit that allows you to raise your working surface with just two levers. The entire unit is on hydraulics, making it effortless to go from sitting to standing.

Posture

While it’s important to ensure you get up and move around, it’s equally important to ensure you have the correct posture while you’re sitting. Here are some tips to ensure your sitting posture is correct:

  • Always try to sit upright, with your shoulders down and back all the way to the back of the seat. The back of your pelvis should be butted against the back of the chair for support.
  • Keep your body weight distributed to both of your feet evenly. Try not to cross your legs as that rotates the pelvis backwards on the side that you are crossing over.
  • Try using a lumbar support, which is essentially a cushion for your lower back that rests on the back of your chair. A lumbar support can go a long way in preventing pain.

Your Chair

Your chair can be a big factor in whether or not you experience pain. If your chair height isn’t correct, you’ll have to extend your forearms downwards or upwards to type. This can cause pain to either shoot up to your shoulder blades or sit in your wrists.

Also, you should always try to have your chair under your desk as far as you can, this helps to prevent slouching forwards putting strain on your lower back. 

How Chiropractic Can Help

A chiropractor is trained to help you understand how you can prevent and alleviate pain with prolonged sitting.

Chiropractors are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions of the musculoskeletal system (the body’s bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, joints and connective tissue). Your chiropractor will first assess your current condition or the source of your problem and then develop a treatment plan for you to help ease your pain.

Fall Fitness

I can't say enough about the importance of getting outside and being active for both physical and mental health! This weekend I had the privilege of participating in the MEC Fall Century Ride. A windy, but gorgeous 60 km leaving from Turner Valley, Alberta. It was challenging, but with encouragement from friends, and focus on my inner dialogue, I completed it in one piece. This may be the last thing you would be interested in doing on a beautiful Sunday, but there are some common themes I can share that may help in finding your inner drive to get moving. Here are some ideas to incorporate more activity into your week:
 
- Find something you LOVE to do! In summer I bike, swim, run, lift weights and hike. In winter I spin, swim, snowboard, snowshoe and lift weights...this keeps me conditioned year-round and changing my activities through the year adds variety and helps me cope with the changing seasons. Having a variety of activities also keeps me doing SOMETHING if I am not in the mood to do what I otherwise planned to.
 
- Sign-up for an event to train for! If this is out of your comfort zone, start with volunteering. You can get to know other participants, how the event works and most likely see how much you belong! Everyone, at some point has taken on the challenge of their first 'race'. I am always inspired by the people I see and meet at races and events! To be truthful, I didn't train for this weekend's ride. And I felt it. But I showed up, complained a little, and was so glad that I did it!
 
- Plan weekly meetups with friends, neighbours or coworkers. Having someone else you are accountable to can be a nice "push", especially as the days get shorter and colder.
 
- Meetup groups can be a great way to meet new people and try new sports or activities you otherwise may not have tried. The University, Mountain Equipment Coop, Running Room, Lululemon, among others, have various programs to participate in, some of which are complimentary!
 
Being active on a daily basis, is our primal nature. Building and maintaining strength with functional movements, flexibility, ease in motion, endurance and stamina, are all vital to living a long, healthy life.