In an effort to bring you more information on a variety of topics, we have enlisted a few "guest bloggers."

I have spoken with a few managers out there and learned that workplace ergonomics was a topic of interest. I guess all managers and companies are in favour of finding ways to increase productivity while decreasing workplace accidents and sick days. So I give you Dr. Pete Moore - widely regarded in Ontario as a leading lecturer in workplace ergonomics and expert in his field. We are very lucky to have him as part of our network!

Easing the Pain of Static Postures - Series 1

In today’s society many people may find themselves sitting for prolonged periods of time. They sit down to have breakfast; sit on their drive to work; sit while they are at work; sit on the way home from work; sit for dinner and then end the day sitting watching their favourite shows. Sitting! Sitting! Sitting! We are a biped machine people! We are not designed to sit.

There are hundreds of muscles in the body that connect to joints. Sitting in a flexed posture hours per day every day for years on end creates chronic shortness of many of these muscles. The tighter these muscles become the less range of motion the joints can move through. This eventually creates pain and joint instability, both directly and indirectly. For example, long periods of sitting creates shortness in the chest and upper back musculature. This leads to rounding of the shoulders and a forward head carriage along with a very inefficient posture. Musculature opposite to the tightened muscles will be under a constant load trying to bring the neck, upper back and shoulders back into a more neutral position. Over time, if the poor posture is not corrected it can lead to many problems such as: headaches, chronic neck and upper back pain, shoulder dysfunction, poor sleep and concentration and lack of energy, to name a few.

Sitting with proper posture is paramount if you want to diminish the pain. Once this is achieved then addressing the tightened musculature is next. Following are tips for sitting correctly:

1. Sit with your feet flat on the ground and your knees slightly higher than your hips. If you need to put a phone book or foot stool on the ground to achieve this, so be it.

2. Sit erect with your shoulders back and your chin slightly flexed down.

3. Drop your arms down to your side while in this position. The crease of your elbow should be in line with your key board and mouse. Adjust accordingly. Once you have found the correct height of the key board and mouse, your arms should be bent resting on the arms of your chair comfortably.

4. The monitor should be several feet away with the top of it at eye level.

Immediately changing your seated position will create less stress on the tissues that have been overburdened for years. You will most likely experience less pain and stiffness of your neck, back and shoulders within hours of making these modifications.

Next post I will address the stretching of the dominant muscles and the strengthening of the weakened ones.

Until then, have a great week ahead!!!!

Dr. Pete -

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