Posture is the way we sit, stand, kneel, squat or walk and is determined by the body’s structures, but it can also be influenced by genetic and emotional factors. Normal spine posture helps to reduce potential strain. However, our modern lifestyles, combined with forces of gravity, often ruin our healthy upright posture.

The habit of slouching begins in childhood when we sit in front of the television and at school desks, slouching then continues into adulthood when we sit in front of computers and use laptops. As we become older, osteoporosis (the thinning of the bones) and osteoarthritis (wear and tear) often results in poor posture. Sitting and inactivity automatically worsens our posture, making pain inevitable.

What is Correct Posture? Ordinary posture is normally considered as standing erect with arms hanging loosely at the sides. A good rule of thumb to obtain a good posture is to assume the ‘military position’ and then ease off about 10%. It is a good idea to try and adopt this position approximately every 20 minutes as a way of improving your posture and eventually it should occur automatically.

Basically, the military position involves:

flattening your low back against a chair or wall rolling your shoulders back and down tucking in your chin while you glide your head backwards. Good Posture at the Desk When you work at a desk or computer, it is important to adapt your surroundings to encourage a healthy posture. Firstly, experiment with the tilt of your chair. Tilt your chair so that the back is higher than the front. If your chair does not tilt, achieve the effect by using a foam wedge. If your desk is too low for you, it will promote a slumped posture.

Reading or writing may cause neck and shoulder overstrain. A writing wedge or book support can prevent this strain. The keyboard and monitor should be directly in front of you so that you are not rotating your neck or low back. The monitor should be at eye level. When typing, your fingers should rest on the keyboard with your wrists straight and elbows bent at 90 degrees and shoulders relaxed. Always take a break after 30-40 minutes os intense work, and change activity completely.

Do’s and Don’ts at the Computer

DO…

sit in a good chair with arm rests if possible use adequate back support use a desk of appropriate height take regular breaks to rest eyes, neck and shoulders stand up and walk around at least once an hour loosen neck and shoulders while sitting relax wrists while typing DON’T…

slouch sit in a bad chair use a low desk or table sit for too long at a time tense your neck, shoulders or wrists cross your legs This information was provided by The Chiropractic Information Service.

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