As promised from our last newsletter, I wanted to start putting into practice some of the easy fixes that can be accomplished without having to book a session, and more importantly, possibly preventing your next injury. From the top down, the key elements to remember:
1) Top of the computer screen the same as your eye level: This minimizes the need to adopt a forward head posture that’s associated with looking down, or a chin poke when looking up
2) Elbow Angle is approximately 90 degrees: This habit will minimize a forward shoulder position, which ultimately leads to a forward head posture. If necessary, there is the option of using a wrist pad to offload your arms
3) Tuck your tailbone as far back into the chair as you can: If you skip this step, your mid-back will come in contact with the back rest, again leading to…I can’t keep saying it…
4) Your hips and knees should roughly be at 90 degrees: In this case (in the photo), I needed a foot stool to accomplish this. This will depend on how tall you are as well as your desk height
5) Set yourself a posture reminder: I’ve never met anyone who is able to sustain these perfect angles for more than 10-15 minutes. We get tired, distracted or lazy. Use task manager, Google calendar or one of the many apps/smart watches to help you achieve this simple goal
6) Take walking breaks every 30-60 minutes: Go back to my previous article (found in our blog) that explains all the anatomical consequences of sitting. Getting up and walking counters all of that and can be included with your posture reminders
The best posture will always be your next one. Positional change is probably the most important piece of advice. How often? That’s up to you. Every 30-60 minutes is ideal but not always necessary if you need to stay focused for a prolonged amount of time. For this group, I suggest starting your morning standing, until you feel the need to sit, which you can do until lunch. Start your afternoon back on your feet, and repeat the same thing.
The upper body angles: These are identical to the previous description. Notice that I could have raised the computer another 2-3 inches. It is important to personalize your space to ensure good posture
1) Imagining good posture: When sitting, imagine the top of your head is being pulled toward the sky. Pull your shoulders halfway back into a comfortable position. Again, you may need to periodically keep tucking your tailbone into the back of the chair. This is what you go back to every time you get your posture notification.
2) Lumbar support: This isn’t for everyone… I find it to be a personal preference. This is another way to apply the positional change idea. Keep switching it in and out throughout the day to alter the lines of gravity going through your spine.
If this prevents you from sustaining your next overuse injury, then my mission is accomplished. Feel free to forward this article to colleagues, family and friends who might benefit from some free knowledge.
If you want me to keep this party going and dive into a preventative home exercises routine to counter the consequences of sitting, reply YES PLEASE to this email.
Owner at The Sports Clinic at UTM
Registered Physiotherapist, FCAMPT