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Neck and low back pain is a prevalent issue in American society; up to 80% of people will experience low back pain in their lifetime. Particularly as our daily activities become more sedentary, we see that poor posture is the main contributor to neck and back pain.
Studies show that sitting for long periods of time can cause your muscles to become inactive, and has you burning one calorie a minute, a third of what it would be if you were walking. And that’s even when you have good posture!
But most of us don’t even have good posture. Most of us sit like twisted pretzels, setting ourselves up for a lifetime of pain and injuries. And although standing desks (or even treadmill desks) are trendy, they haven't become the office norm just yet—making sitting the majority of the day pretty inevitable.
One way to combat this problem is to make simple changes to your home or work office environment.
Here’s your how-to guide for sitting at your desk:
Little changes to your posture matter. Bad sitting habits—from slouching to crossing your legs—can lead to serious injuries and chronic pain. The ideal posture is rarely the most comfortable so these changes won’t feel normal at first. Try slowly incorporating these changes (i.e. five minutes every half hour at first) to get your body adjusted to a healthier posture, and over time, sitting properly won’t feel awkward at all. Your body will thank you.
To learn about other ergonomic tips or ways to prevent injury, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.
Alicia Lazeski, MD specializes in Physiatry.