Standing is the new black at workstations

Standing is the new black at workstations.

By Emma Gillingham, Practice Principal

For many people sitting is a fact of life. In a typical day, after sitting for breakfast, we sit in the car/bus/train on the way to work, and then sit all day at work, then again on the way home. Then at the end of a busy day… you “can’t wait to sit down and relax”.

It is no wonder many people experience pain in one or more parts of the spine if their day involves a lot of sitting. Sitting results in increased loading on the lower back and compression of the lumbar spine joints and discs. The problem is not only the duration but the posture in which we sit. Most people have a tendency to slouch. This means that the normal curve of the lower back, referred to as the lumbar lordosis, is lost. The spine is not a straight, rigid structure but rather has natural curves in it.

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The curves of the spine vary for each person but are an ingenious design that allows for load absorption and support of the body. When the curve of the spine is lost, due to poor sitting posture, there is extra strain and loading on other joints and muscles of the spine. There may also be associated problems in the upper or lower limbs which may be referred from these affected areas of the spine: neck or thoracic spine problems can cause arm pain, and strain to the lumbar region can cause leg symptoms.

Perhaps in a few million years when we have evolved to sit at a desk all day we will be okay, but until then what’s the solution?

Well, there are a few things you can do to reduce the stress on your spine.

1.SIT LESS! Sounds simple doesn’t it? But how?

Stand at work. Some workplaces may have designated areas where you can stand to work in a “hot- desk” set up. Alternatively, there are lots of good products on the market for workstations that can be used in a sitting or standing position. You may be able to have one of these set up at your workstation. The benefits of a “sit-stand” workstation as they are known are;

  • Reducing the time spent sitting.
  • Changing your posture regularly throughout the day.
  • Reduced stress on your spine in standing, particularly the lower back.
  • Improved cardiovascular flow throughout your body.
  • Increased mental alertness.
  • Increased productivity.

 

It is really important that you get the set up that is correct for you and your specific workstation. Your Health Domain is here to help. We can select the best product and make recommendations to your employer to get a sit-stand workstation implemeted if that will best suit your work environment. If youwould like further information on Sit-Stand desks and whether or not one would be suitable for your working environment please contact us on 9251 5111 to arrange your individual ergonomic work station assessment.

2.CORRECT YOUR POSTURE

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When standing:

  • Take care not to excessively increase or decrease the curves in your spine
  • “Open up” through your chest, don’t round your shoulders
  • Keep your chin “tucked in” not protruding forward
  • Feet shoulder width apart, with hips, knees and ankles in line
  • Gently pull your tummy in to activate your “core” muscles
  • Weight should be evenly distributed on both legs

When sitting:

back pic 3

 

  • Make sure you have an appropriately sized and supportive chair
  • Ensure your seat height is correct
  • Don’t slouch! Weight should be evenly distributed on your two “sit bones”
  • Set up your workstation computer monitor, mouse, phone etc. so good posture can be maintained

Did you know team at Your Health Domain offers Ergonomic Workstation Assessments?

One of our experienced Physiotherapists can come and check on all the elements of your workstation to check to see it is set up correctly for you. This will help prevent injury and the aches and pain that go hand in hand with sitting all day.

3.ALTERNATE YOUR TASKS

As much as possible, try and break up your tasks between time spent on on the computer using the keyboard, using the mouse, reading on your desk, telephone calls etc. This means you will change your position and posture regularly throughout the day.

4.SCHEDULE REGULAR BREAKS

Use your diary to set a reminder to get up and walk around for a minute or two every 30-60 minutes. You may even find this makes your more productive rather than less as some people might think.

5.DRINK WATER

Staying well hydrated have lots of health benefits and may also mean you need more frequent breaks too. Getting up to go to the toilet means you will change your posture and improve your spine health.

6.GET MOVING!

Try taking the stairs instead of the lift or taking a walk at lunchtime. Why not try and get a group of collegues together for a walk or run?

Your Health Domain has Physiotherapists experienced in treating the spine and are here to help you with a workstation assessment or any tips and advice on improving your back health.

Please contact us on 9251 5111 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

to arrange your individual or group workstation in-service training and assessments today.

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Pitt St. City Practice

Address:
Level 7 60 Pitt Street Sydney 2000
Hours of Operation:
Mon - Fri 7:30am - 6:00pm
Telephone:
(02) 9251-5111

King Street Practice

Address:
Fitness First - The Zone / 94 King Street Sydney 2000
Hours of Operation:
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Telephone:
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