How Do I Avoid Neck and Back Pain from Sitting
5 Proven Techniques from a Chiropractor
Many people realize that their neck or back pain becomes worse after sitting for extended or sometimes even short period of times. In our culture, most of us spend much of our day seated, whether it’s on the drive to work, at a desk in front of a computer , eating and even relaxing on the sofa after a long day. No matter where you are sitting, the same posture and ergonomic concerns apply. The more you are able to apply the following guidelines, the less stress you will have on your spine and the less likely you will be to experience back or neck pain.
It’s All About the Spine
Let’s start with where most people are likely to be spending lots of time these days; in front of a computer. Ergonomics is defined as an applied science of arranging thing to allow efficient and safe work, but we really need to begin with the body. The neck and back aka, the spine, works most efficiently and safely when proper posture is maintained. Good posture means the spine is aligned such that the bones support the weight of the body and the joints are in a neutral position from which they can move easily. Let’s arrange our work space with that in mind.
5 Steps to Sitting Straight and Stopping Neck and Back Pain
1. Begin with you in your chair. Sit deep in the seat so there is less of a tendency to slouch.
2. Adjust the height so you can rest your fingers on the keyboard and mouse with your arms relaxed at your sides with at least a 95 degree angle at the elbows. Best to have a keyboard tray.
3. Your hips should be slightly above your knees. This helps to keep the curve in your lower back. If you can tilt your seat a little that’s great, otherwise a wedge type cushion may be helpful. A foot rest may also be needed. Do not tuck your feet under your chair!
4. Finally adjust your screen so your line of sight is about a third of the way down from the top when you are sitting up straight. This will let you keep your neck in a neutral position.
5. Many people leaning into their screen to see better. If you find yourself doing this, move the screen closer and see your optometrist! A new pair of glasses may be the best thing you can do for your neck!
How to Sit Properly in a Car Seat
It’s harder to apply these principles to your car seat because they tend to be less adjustable, but there are many seat cushions and lumbar supports you can use to position your spine well to avoid neck and back pain. The same goes for your couch. We have this idea that a soft couch is a comfortable couch, but if you sink in so your hips are above your knees, it makes you slouch. The reality is that a firmer couch is better for your back and neck.
Whether you already have issues or you are wise enough to want to prevent neck or back pain, these simple steps will take a lot of stress off your spine and help you maintain good posture throughout your life. If you have a history of neck or back pain while sitting or these tips do not help you, you may need a chiropractic evaluation and treatment to restore proper alignment and movement to your spine. Postural changes can be very slow and subtle until your neck and back start hurting, I urge you to set up an appointment today.