Conditions & Advice: Posture
Many people spend long hours sitting or standing at work. The body does not like to be fixed in one posture for a long time so this can lead to aches and pains, whether you are standing in a shop, sitting at a desk or driving all day. Our absolute least favourite bit of modern technology is the laptop. The small screen, fixed to its keyboard, forces you to round your back and stick your chin out. Even worse if you use it sitting on the floor or bed, as many students do.
Backache, neck ache, shoulder ache and headache are probably the most common symptoms related to poor posture, but it can also have long term effects. We are particularly concerned at the fate of students, who increasingly rely on the computer to research and produce assignments from secondary school through to college or university.
Prolonged sitting, especially at a laptop, while the spine is still developing (it does not finish this process until the age of 25) can lead to permanently poor posture. As well as the obvious impacts on the muscles and bones, excessive sitting can contribute to constipation and poor lung function. We evolved to move, not to sit all day!
Repetitive Strain Injury
Repetitive Strain Injury can affect any part of the body, depending on what you are doing repetitively. Typically it is delicate, fiddly tasks that cause problems – such as texter's thumb!
Whilst you may be obliged by your work to maintain a fixed position for long hours, there are many things you can do to compensate for it and help your body to cope.
- Make sure you have your workstation set up comfortably. Try the homeworking website for details. If you use a mouse, try switching hands from time to time.
- If you use a laptop a lot, get a separate keyboard so that you are not hunched over.
- Take regular breaks every 45 minutes – get up, stretch your legs, look at the horizon to relax your eyes, do a few arm circles to loosen your shoulders, unclench your jaw.
- Take regular exercise – it doesn't matter whether it is walking, swimming, yoga, team sports or whatever, as long as you enjoy it enough to keep at it.
If you would like an assessment of how your work may be affecting your health, do give us a call.
- Downloadable guides on How Posture affects disc pressure are avalible here: http://www.asd.co.uk/guides/how_to_posters.htm