Over the past hundred years and as our society evolves, humans as a race have changed our habits and are spending more and more time sitting. The vast majority of us sit at work, sit for all or part of our journey to and from work, and then sit down to relax when we get home from work.
It may or may not be of coincidence that the number of people suffering from low back pain has also increased over the years; the number of people have also increased, and we are living longer to name but a couple more changes. However, we do know that sitting in a chair decreases the arch in your lower back (your lumbar lordosis), and more pressure is placed through the back of the discs between the vertebrae. This is the area that tends to show signs of wear and tear from the daily activities of living and our upright posture. So it follows that prolonged sitting in poor postures can add to various problems from neck and shoulder pain to back pain and repetitive strain injuries.
Your body adapts to being in the same position for prolonged periods by shortening or lengthening of muscles to maintain the posture that they’re used to. For example, if you slouch forward on your desk, you will probably end up with a degree of rounding of your shoulders as gravity pulls them forward, leading your chest or pectoral muscles to shorten, which then maintains this posture.
Nothing is permanent, and by improving your desk setup to encourage better posture will start to correct any bad habits that you have developed. You can find lots of good infographics on ergonomic desk setup online, or your HR department may be able to arrange a work station assessment to see things in the way that you are sitting that you may be missing.
If not, our physiotherapists and osteopath are qualified and available to visit your work place to carry out a thorough check of your desk setup and implement any changes necessary. Alternatively, if you are struggling with aches and pains related to sitting at your desk, an appointment with our osteopath, Will, may be beneficial for postural analysis and treatment to improve your mobility, or with one of our physiotherapists to help with any repetitive strains such as tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome that are often seen in the computer-based population.