Stop! Are you sitting correctly?

by Gemma Smith

If you are seeking a new role, working from home or working from the office you are likely to be looking at a computer screen or be using your phone. When doing this, how is your posture? Plus, have you experienced more back and neck pain over the last few months?

The Correct Posture at your Desk

The NHS describe how to sit correctly and the pictures below demonstrate this – check to see if you have it right.

Is our posture better or worse from working at home?

Your desk and chair in the office are ergonomically aligned to try and avoid back and neck problems. However, the same set up is not always repeated at home, especially when using a laptop. Jamie Donmall, Physiotherapist from The Carter and George Practice in Hertfordshire, has seen an increase in clients with lower back and neck pain/stiffness since reopening the practice, following lockdown. They have seen an 56% increase in injuries that have been linked to sedentary lifestyles and alterations to working conditions.

In a recent poll run by Kennedy Pearce Consulting we asked if you have more, less or no change in back and neck pain since being at home during lockdown. 40% of you said you had experienced more pain, however for 31% of you there has been no change. The remaining 29% found an improvement.

From the articles and videos that are available, it is consistently stressed that we should not sit for longer than 30 minutes. Standing, stretching and being active throughout the day is key. We need to move, move, MOVE! Maybe being at home, for some, has meant a more active lifestyle. Therefore, back and neck pain is not something everyone is suffering from.

 What are the health effects?

Prolonged sitting as well as sitting poorly can lead to a number of health problems and some of those you wouldn’t expect as shown here: 3 surprising risks of poor posture.

How can we improve without spending too much?

Not everyone right now has the money to spend on a desk, office chair and accessories/gadgets. So why not try a few cheap or free fixes, for example to get the correct height you can pop a cushion on your chair, find something to rest your feet on or use books to heighten your screen. Here are tips for the best laptop set up.