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Practice Good Posture at the Office: Tips for Bettering Your Posture as You Work

Mar 10, 2010

Most people remember being reminded by their parents to sit up straight when they were children. As adults, it’s more important than ever to keep your posture in check. Good posture is not just cosmetic, it is critical in maintaining spine health and reducing back and neck pain.

“There are many complex structures in the spine, and good posture can keep them in healthy, working order,” said Purnendu Gupta, M.D., director of the University of Chicago Spine Center at Weiss Memorial Hospital and associate professor of surgery at University of Chicago. “Over time, bad posture can increase the stress on the spine, leading to muscle pain and increasing spinal disc and joint arthritis.”

There are many simple ways to improve posture, and a good place to start is at the office.  Follow these healthful hints from the experts at Weiss Memorial Hospital to perfect your posture as you work.

  • Align Yourself with Your Office Chair: When sitting at your desk, align your back to the back of your office chair with shoulders back. Avoid leaning forward or slouching as you get tired. If needed, take a break and take a walk around the office for a few minutes. When you return, position your back properly against the chair.
  • Position Arms Properly: Arm placement is very important to keeping a healthy posture at your desk. Arms should be flexed from the elbows at a 75 to 90 degree angle. You may need to adjust your desk chair to make this possible.
  • Don’t Forget Hips, Knees and Feet: It may seem like your upper body does most of the work when it comes to good posture, but your hips, knees, and feet play a role too. When sitting in your desk chair, make sure your hips are even or slightly higher than your knees. Keep both feet flat on the floor, using a footrest if necessary.

If the pain already has set in, see your doctor. Some simple stretching exercises, strengthening exercises, massage therapy or anti-inflammatory medications might be all the treatment you need to help align your spine and get you positioned correctly again on the job.