Sitting Posture Mistakes – Save Your Spine

In today’s world & age, there is a stark rise in the use of digital media. Be it for work purposes, recreational or simply out of boredom. We humans spend hours and more, sitting in one stagnant position without realising its implications on our spine, hence, overall health.

The consequence of extended sitting hours in an inappropriate posture is long term chronic musculoskeletal pain and discomfort. The mismatched relationship between each individual and the furniture, be it at home, office or any other space, is quite evident from the alarmingly increasing number of chronic back and neck pain cases.

It has been shown that an individual who is not aware of the correct position of the spine often ends up loading the spinal muscles and joints inappropriately, leading to spinal pain and dysfunction.

Backed with the limited research available, it is believed that the ‘erect spine’ position is the ideal position for the spine. It is a worldwide belief that people should sit sat with 90 degrees flexion (bending) of the hip joint, while maintaining the normal curvature of the lumbar spine. However there is no conclusive scientific evidence to prove that a straight spine can prevent the occurrence of back or neck pain. It is also extremely difficult to maintain the ‘erect spine’ for too long; therefore leading to poor posture, fatigue and discomfort.

German Orthopaedic surgeon, Hans Schoberth, deployed a series of X-rays to demonstrate the fact that an individual could only flex the hip up to 60 degrees in a seated working position, as opposed to 90 degrees which is a commonly practiced.

This was further consistent with the findings of American Orthopaedic surgeon, J.J. Keegan. Keegan too used a series of X-rays with people lying sideways to find that a large amount of movement occurs at the lumbar spine from standing (a) right angle siting (c) bent over spine (d). In the figures (b) and (d) are natural resting postures. The more naturally resting posture (b), is a most appropriate position resulting in “balanced sitting”, allowing the spine to bear the weight comfortably.

This forward tilt sitting, which encourages relaxed sitting, provides better mobility and relieves pressure on the spine.

In the figures (b) and (d) are natural resting postures. The more naturally resting posture (b), is a most appropriate position resulting in “balanced sitting”, allowing the spine to bear the weight comfortably. This forward tilt sitting, which encourages relaxed sitting, provides better mobility and relieves pressure on the spine.

To achieve the front seat tilt, a posture seat that is tilting the spine forwards and a higher work surface can result in elimination of any pressure on the back. This can further help prevent the development of chronic pain. An elevated work desk relieves pressure from the disc. Hence, the furniture must be designed for optimal balancing of the muscles, resulting in enhanced performance and efficiency.

The chair of an individual should be 1/3 the total height of the person and the desk should be around 1/2 of the individual’s height.

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