Slumping at your desk can cause pain and discomfort in your neck and back.

Slumping at your desk - Women's Health & Fitness

Sitting up straight is often the last thing you think about when you’ve got a bulging in-tray and it can feel like hard work. Trouble is, slumping at your workstation does more than dent your promotion potential. It causes your shoulders to drop, tummy to collapse and chin to creep forward – all bad news for your back.

“When you slouch, you strain the structural scaffolding and tissues of your upper and lower back,” explains Jason T. Smith, physiotherapist and group director of the Back in Motion Health Group and author of Get Yourself Back In Motion (Global Publishing, $34.95).

“This increases risk of pins and needles and issues of degeneration, such as sciatic pain, rupture of a disc and arthritis. Over time, the strain, tightening, shortening and weakening in your back means you are more likely than someone with good posture to injure yourself when exercising, renovating or simply bending over to pick something up.” 

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1. Change your monitor height. “Most people have their line of sight for their computer screen either too low or too high,” says Smith. “The best position for the back is if for your line of sight to be horizontal or up to 10 degrees down off the horizontal.”

2. Adjust your chair. “If you feel a little hunched over your desk it is likely that your chair is too high and should be slightly lowered,” observes Smith. “Make sure you also adjust the tilt of the seat pan so that it sits about 10 degrees down from the horizontal – this positions the pelvis into a forward tilt, which gives your back a healthier inward curve position without any need for an additional lumbar support.”

3. Use a footrest According to Smith, “Foot rests take the weight out of the thighs and de-load the pressure on the lower back.”

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