If you are an office worker you probably spend at least six or seven hours a day sitting on the job. Add more time sitting in the car, at dinner and lounging with some late night TV and the total hours of sitting rockets up to somewhere around ten hours.
When is the last time you thought about how you sit? Probably never or a long, long time ago.
Promise yourself that you’ll take a critical look at how you sit after you read this article. If you are sitting and reading this online, go ahead and freeze right now and really think about how you are sitting. Compare your sitting position to this checklist.
Sit with your legs uncrossed with ankles in front of the knees.
Place both feet firmly on the floor. Get yourself a footrest if your feet don’t reach.
Your knees should be lower than your hips and the back of your knees should not touch the seat.
If your chair has an adjustable backrest, move it to support the arch in your low back. If you don’t have a backrest, ask your employer about getting one or invest in it yourself.
Get up and move around every hour. Take a break from sitting even if you cannot stop working. Make a phone call standing up or close your office door and lie down for a few minutes on your stomach. At the very least, shift your sitting position occasionally.
Good posture is important for long term health and disease prevention just like daily tooth brushing. And, similar to tooth brushing, habits are formed early and can be hard to break later in life.
Good sitting posture reduces the stress and strain on ligaments. Ligaments are responsible for holding the joints together, so ligament stresses can make you prone to joint injuries. Proper posture also reduces muscle fatigue. When muscles are able to work efficiently they use less energy and don’t get tired as easily. Abnormal motions or positions that are repeated over and over again on a daily basis are contributors to degenerative arthritis and joint pain.
Most adults would readily agree that posture is important. Most of that group would also admit that they don’t actively think about posture…it just happens. For the next 30 days, make an effort to really think about your posture and pause a couple times per day to compare your current position to the checklist provided above. It takes about 30 days of focus to break an old habit or develop a new one, so if you concentrate on your sitting posture for 30 days, you’ll be well on your way to a lifetime of better musculoskeletal health.
Lumbar back support products are designed to help prevent neck and back pain, which can lead to pain in other parts of the body as well. Many of these products are pillows or cushions that offer additional support when you are seated for long periods of time.
The lumbar region of the spine is usually referred to as the lower back. It is the area just above your tailbone and below the thoracic (middle back) region. The lumbar area includes your spine and all the muscles, ligaments and tendons surrounding your spine. If your ligaments are pulled or torn, you will experience a lumbar sprain or strain, which can lead to muscle spasms and significant pain in your lower back.
What can cause lumbar sprains and strains? Poor posture, poor lifting technique, obesity, and other health-related factors can contribute. In fact, sitting for long periods without lumbar support can itself aggravate lumbar pain. Finally, one of the greatest contributors to back pain is using the wrong type of chair for your body. Surfaces that are too hard or too soft do not encourage proper posture and do not provide adequate support for your back.
Usually all that is required to relieve lower back pain is sufficient rest, but most of us are unable to rest for long enough to overcome lumbar problems. So preventing these problems with a good lumbar support is essential, especially if you spend significant amounts of time sitting down.
The first step to choosing the right lumbar support is to ensure that it fits perfectly in the chair you spend the most time in. An even better option is to choose an ergonomically designed chair that includes a built-in lumbar support, or an individual lumbar support that is specifically designed to be used with your chair. “One size fits all” lumbar support products rarely provide any benefits and should be avoided.
Make sure you test the product in the store before you buy it. If you can, sit with the lumbar support for at least 15 minutes to see if it feels good or aggravates back pain. The best lumbar supports are adjustable, so you can fit it to the chair’s height. Ergonomic chairs with lumbar supports included usually allow you to adjust the height and width of the support. Adjustable separate supports are particularly useful if you use more than one chair throughout the day.