The Monday Memo
April 9, 2018 PITT DPT STUDENTS
Take A Seat
It seems as if every day, we are warned about the potential negative effects that sitting for long durations can have on our health. Populations that endure extended amounts of sitting range from CEOs of major companies to full time students. In the physical therapy community, we know it can contribute to things such as weak core musculature, increased thoracic kyphosis, forward head posture, and much more. These impairments often lead to two of the most common referrals to physical therapy: neck and low back pain. Although it would be opportune for anyone that works a full-time job to have products such as stand up desks and stationary bicycles in replace of traditional office chairs, this is not feasible for most. Here are some simple tips in order to reduce the amount of negative impact that sitting may have on your body:
- Take breaks! Even if it is only for 5 minutes every hour, make sure that you are getting up, stretching, walking or just grabbing a drink of water. This gives your body and mind a chance to reset.
- Make sure you have adequate lumbar support. If you spend extended amounts of time sitting in a chair that does not have some kind of low back support, you can try folding a small towel or pillow to put behind your back in intervals throughout the day. It does not need to be there the whole day, but supporting your back for brief periods of time can help to maintain the natural curves of your spine.
- Set up your desk so that your computer is at eye level. Spending an entire work day with your neck excessively flexed or extended puts unnecessary strains on it and may lead to neck pain over time. If safe and realistic, adjust your chair to position yourself directly in front of your computer screen.
- Sit with both feet on the ground. This may seem simple, however, many of us adapt strange sitting posture over extended amounts of time. Sitting with legs crossed or propping one’s feet up on a desk can lead to low back and lower extremity problems.
- Make time to exercise! After a long day in a relatively static position, we may feel tightness and soreness in numerous areas of the body. Exercise is an effective way to offset this. Taking a walk outside, practicing yoga, dancing, or lifting weights are all excellent ways to take advantage of your own movement system.
Below is a picture of a relatively healthy sitting posture. Feel free to try out as many of these suggestions as you like. Keep in mind, by no means are these a cure, but they may help you find some relief throughout your day.
-Layne Gable, SPT