Did you know that how you sit can have a profound impact on your overall physical and mental health? Many Americans have office jobs that require them to sit for long periods in front of a computer screen while they work. In addition, our habitual smartphone use subjects us to conditions such as “text-neck syndrome“, weakening our core muscles and shortening our posture over time. As a Charlotte NC chiropractor, I can tell you that this is affecting your overall health more than you know.
Poor posture puts pressure on your back vertebrae, weakening the nerve signals that your spinal cord sends to your body’s organs telling it how to function. What that means is, something as simple as sitting incorrectly can result in your body not functioning at optimal levels. Over time, this affects your body’s major systems, including the nervous, digestive, endocrine and musculoskeletal systems. When these systems are down, you don’t feel good. You experience symptoms such as pain, low energy, acid reflux, headaches, irritable bowels, anxiety, depression, and more.
Here’s some advice from Charlotte NC chiropractor, Dr. Holly Clemens: SIT UP STRAIGHT!
Did your mom used to tell you that when you were younger? Did it get on your nerves?
If you answered ‘yes,’ then good. Hopefully, it resulted in action. But now that you’re probably out of the house and living and working on your own, you may need some reinforcement. Which is why I’m writing this post to make sure you know the correct way to sit at your computer for maximum health.
While sitting in general isn’t really good for you, if you’re going to sit for long periods every day (as most of us do), implement these simple tweaks to ensure your posture is as good as it can be.
Set your monitor at eye level.
This will ensure a neutral, comfortable posture since you own’t be looking up or down and putting pressure on your neck joints and nerves, which could hinder your health, especially if prolonged and repeated week after week.
Make sure your feet touch the floor.
This seems simple enough, but if you’re short and don’t have an ergonomic chair that adjusts properly, it could result in big problems. If your feet don’t naturally touch the floor, invest in a small step stool and place it under your desk to fix the issue.
Don’t cross your legs!
This can quickly move your hips and spine out of alignment. Though we recommend getting adjusted by a Charlotte NC chiropractor regularly anyway, it’s best to prevent problems before they start. I see a lot of patients whose hips and shoulders are uneven—the result of years of leg-crossing. Crossing your legs will set you two steps back for every one-step forward you take on this progressive journey. If nothing else, this is one habit you definitely want to break. Crossing your legs can also lead to varicose vein problems and eventually needing endovenous laser ablation.
Shoulders back, chest up.
Recite this to yourself throughout the day. In fact, write it on a post-it note and stick it on your computer monitor as a reminder to sit up straight.
Use ergonomic equipment.
As mentioned above, make sure your chair is easily adjustable and get a stool if necessary to keep your feet flat on the floor. Arm rests on your chair, as well as wrist rests (say that 5 times fast!) on your mouse pad and keyboard definitely won’t hurt. However, don’t feel the need to spend a ton of money on new equipment, as you can easily remedy a lot of problems with the above suggestions alone.
Stretch at regular intervals.
That’s right. Get out of your chair and get moving! No, you don’t have to break a sweat (unless you want to). But try to take a walk outside during your lunch break. Get out of your chair once every hour and stretch your limbs so they don’t get too stiff.
Stop by Queen City Health Center in Charlotte for your chiropractic adjustment!
If you find yourself in pain after a long day of sitting at your computer, come by our office to get adjusted. Our Charlotte NC chiropractor team recommends regular adjustments for all of our patients to reinforce these good habits and keep your spine properly aligned.