Say no to slouching! How your office chair and posture are linked
If you work in an office or from home, odds are that you’ll sit in a chair for most of the day.
When you’re staring at spreadsheets for eight hours straight or hiding in your seat as the boss walks around the office, you’ll probably be slumping in your chair.
However, did you know that slouching can cause back and neck pain? Here’s how sitting a little straighter in your office chair can mean better posture, as well as fewer aches and pains in your neck and back.
The connection between slouching and pain
The key to sitting in an office chair pain-free is ensuring your spine is in perfect alignment, also known as ‘neutral position’.
When your spine is in a neutral position and has a gentle curve, the weight is evenly distributed across all the vertebrae and muscles, with no pressure on the discs and joints.
However, when you slouch in your seat, the following happens:
- You lose the natural curve in your spine, putting pressure on the discs and joints in your back
- You push your head forward, which strains your neck muscles
- You round your shoulders, leading to muscle tension and tightness
- You put the muscles and ligaments in your back under strain, reducing blood supply to them
This results in neck and back pain, as well as changes to your posture. This can make it more difficult to breathe and move around.
Sitting too upright can also cause problems. When you sit too straight without the proper support, your back and hips have to strain to stay in position. This can lead to pain and muscle tiredness if you do it for too long.
Making tweaks to your chair can help keep your spine in the right position and promote good posture. It’s well worth investing in an ergonomic office chair that supports your back and maintains a healthy curve in your spine.
Alternatively, a lumbar cushion can support your spine and prevent muscle fatigue.
How to sit better in your office chair
However, the more you can optimize your chair and work environment, the better! Here are some additional ways you can reduce the risk of back and neck pain.
- Using an exercise ball or kneeling chair as a seat can help you think about your posture and stop you from slouching. However, they should only be used as a temporary measure as they might cause strain in other parts of your body
- Regular exercise can help strengthen your back, chest, and core muscles, making keeping your spine in a neutral position easy. Yoga, Pilates, and tai chi are all fantastic choices
- Think about your posture not just when you’re in your office chair, but in other places too. For example, how can you help your posture while driving or sleeping?