4 Ways to Improve Your Posture At Home – Part 1

Ergonomic desk

While getting checked regularly is important, posture care begins at home. Many of us have developed very poor habits that lead to chronic conditions such as upper cross syndrome (rounded shoulders and forward head carriage), increased lumbar lordosis/forward curve, and our old favorite, pain. Left alone long enough, poor posture helps arthritis develop and speeds degeneration of the spinal soft tissues. 

Luckily, there are some things you can do about it! In part 1 of our 4 part series, we’ll be discussing ergonomics of the home office. 

Assembling Your Desk 

Whether you’re doing work at home or just killing time on the computer, a desk is often the location of choice. A poorly assembled work area can quickly lead to poor habits, including slouching, turning the head in one direction for long periods of time, constantly looking up or down, and bending the wrists in ways that contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome

For a seated desk, the first and most important item is selecting a good chair. Ideally the chair should discourage you from “sinking” into the chair, thereby pushing out the belly and increasing the back’s angle. Chairs with a lumbar support can sometimes help as they prevent you from leaning back. 

 

It might seem uncomfortable at first, but the best chairs often have the least support: they simply encourage you to sit straight and let your postural muscles do their job. Yoga balls chairs are particularly nice as they encourage core muscle activation. Note that slouching onto the ball will have the same negative effects as sinking into an ordinary chair.  

Desk height is also very important. It should be low enough that your feet touch the ground when your chair’s height is adjusted; this allows the legs to absorb some of your body weight similar to standing instead of the entire weight going on your low back. It also shouldn’t be so low that you need to lean over just to do anything. It’s best to ensure your arms can sit at a 90 degree angle.  

If you’re using a computer, ensure the monitor is placed straight ahead and at eye level with the top of the monitor. Ideally you shouldn’t need to bend your neck at all to see the monitor properly. Consider using a mouse and keyboard tray that will allow your wrists to sit in a more neutral position instead of being stuck against a hard, flat surface in a constantly extended position. 

The Standing Option 

 

It takes some getting used to, but doing more activities standing is ultimately better than spending a lot of time seated. Standing desks are growing in popularity with good reason; they decrease the likelihood of being poorly positioned and take a significant amount of weight off the spine (sitting doubles the amount of load on the spine if the legs aren’t taking any of the weight). 

Just remember that the same rules apply for standing as apply for sitting. Doing things with your head hunched forward and the shoulders rounded for long hours whether you’re seated or standing will ultimately form bad muscle patterns that make good posture difficult. 

If you can swing it, adjustable desks are excellent as they can be used for both sitting and standing, allowing you to go between both postures as needed. 

Set a goal to implement some changes this week. Ergonomics at home is a great first step to improving posture. And stay tuned for our next post in this 4 part series where we discuss stretches you can do at home! 

Need some extra help? Contact your Winter Park chiropractor today at (321) 972-2008 and request an appointment. We hope to see you soon! 

About the Author

Dr. Orsino, your local Winter Park chiropractor, focuses on preventative health by utilizing a mixture of traditional chiropractic techniques, modern equipment, and wellness advice to provide long lasting results to his patients. He also enjoys writing, video games, and the occasional matcha frappe.

Author
Paladin Chiropractic

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