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Sitting Fit:  Sit Right and Conquer Pain!


What if all you did was sit?


Heavy lifters aren’t the only ones who suffer from a hard day’s work. Millions of people are the victims of aches and pains caused by the stress of sitting too long with poor posture. 


Many people accept that the pain, strain and stress in today’s “high-tech” society are part of the job. Prolonged sitting over a long enough period of time can literally change you physically, and permanently affect how you feel and function. 


Your body responds to long-term postural stress similar to a direct injury and may eventually cause:


  • Spine and extremity joint stiffness/restriction

  • Muscle tightness and/or weakness

  • Inflammation


All three of these responses drive and perpetuate pain.


Consider Some of the Symptoms of Sitting Improperly at a Computer Working Too Long:


  • Neck and shoulder pain

  • Low back pain

  • Headaches

  • Wrist, hand and finger pain, numbness and tingling

  • Leg and foot numbness, tingling and aching

  • Eye strain

  • Fatigue


What is the best way to sit?


  • Even if you sit with perfect posture, your body will eventually react poorly because biomechanically, humans are designed to be upright, moving, and walking. If you have to sit, consider the following tips on proper sitting:


Your chair should: 

  • Be at the correct height to allow you to plant your feet firmly on the floor with your knees slightly below your hips. 

  • Support the natural lordotic curve of your lumbar spine/low back. 

  • Have arm rests to support the weight of your arms and minimize shoulder strain. 


Additional Ergonomic Considerations


  • Remember your arms weigh approximately 15 pounds each, so if your shoulders have to hold your arms up all day, then you will eventually develop neck and shoulder pain.


  • Your keyboard should be at the level of the arm chairs rests and it should have a wrist support.


  • Your monitor should be directly in front of you and at the same level as your eyes so that you do not have to move your head down or up to see it comfortably.


Sitting Suggestions and what to do and not do: 


  • Take frequent micro breaks from sitting. Ideally, you would stand up from your sitting work station every 20 minutes.

  • Drink lots of water.

  • Use a head set if you talk on the phone often.

  • Think of keeping your spine in alignment and upright as much as possible when sitting.

  • Make sure your chair is comfortable and ergonomically correct by actively recruiting the muscles of the lumbar spine and abdominals.

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Replace poor workspace equipment as soon as possible.

  • Don’t ignore the pain. Seek care if pain persists.


Additional Reading:  Posture for a Healthy Back - What is Good Posture?


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