People often come in to see us at Airspace Physiotherapy, believing that sitting at their workstation is causing them pain.
They are right- but fixing their posture usually isn’t the answer.
The truth is we are designed to sit. We need to sit. The problem is sitting too long without changing positions. Often what we think of as ‘poor’ posture is the most efficient posture for us. Sitting a little slumped requires less energy than sitting super straight with shoulders back. A strict posture can be challenging to sustain for more than a few minutes, is uncomfortable, and puts unnecessary strain on your body. Imagine holding a squat, even with perfect form, for more than a minute or two!
It doesn’t matter how light a load is; your body won’t like doing anything for a long time. Even holding a cup of coffee gets heavy and uncomfortable with time. It doesn’t matter how strong you are or how ‘good’ your posture is; no one can sit for hours at a time without pain.
So what can you do to feel more comfortable?
- Set up your workstation so it’s comfortable for you (not according to some manual).
- Get up and move around every 30 mins or as soon as you start feeling uncomfortable. It can be helpful to have an external prompt such as standing to make phone calls, walking to talk to colleagues rather than emailing, or making a quick loop of the office before making a coffee in your tea break. Ultimately being comfortable and pain-free is going to be so much better for your productivity.
- Stretch regularly throughout the day. Your physiotherapist can design a quick, simple program that is workplace friendly.
- A standing desk can be great but remember; no one can stand all day without pain either.
- While being stronger won’t prevent pain and discomfort sitting for long periods, regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle will increase your physical and mental resilience and reduce your sensitivity to pain.
If you continue to experience pain, especially if it’s impacting things that are important to you, book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists, and we can get you on the right track.