MOTION IS LOTION
Dr Tom Gubbins
A topic that we speak about or are asked about very regularly in the clinic is posture. Particularly in the early parts of the year as people head back to work and school, the questions about posture often centre around working at a desk, resting posture and seated activities.
“I have awful posture” “I have desk posture” “Which chair is best for my desk?” “Are sit/stand desks a good idea for me?”
Posture is a really interesting topic and in my opinion, it is often misunderstood. Posture is regularly thought of as binary – in that people describe posture as either GOOD or BAD; with good posture being something to remain in as long as possible and that bad posture will lead towards pain and injury. I feel that this contrasting view of posture and positioning isn’t as accurate as it first seems. Ask yourself; “what is good sitting posture”. I daresay you imagine sitting upright, shoulders back, perfectly straight and ‘fully supported’. Now ask yourself the same for good standing posture and I imagine you’re thinking of something resembling a soldier standing at attention. Now ask yourself another question; “How long could I stay in this position before I get sore. Could I stay like this all day?”
“Can ‘good posture’ get uncomfortable just as quickly as ‘bad posture?”
I would contend that there is no such thing as good or bad postures, but rather any position/posture that we are in for too long becomes a ‘bad posture’. Sure, there are positions that our bodies can tolerate for longer than others and some positions are more comfortable for us. But in my opinion:
THE BEST POSTURE IS YOUR NEXT POSTURE.
Our bodies are resilient and powerful things that are designed to move and climb and run and jump and swim; built to adapt to conditions, develop, strengthen, overcome challenges and CHANGE. What our bodies are NOT designed to do is; stay in one position for extended periods of time and be in a constant state of rest.
What do we do about posture?
So, what to do about posture? No matter what position we are in, some parts of our body are under stress. So prolonged positioning without any change can lead to a build up of stress and potentially pain or strain in our muscles and joints. This can happen whilst we are either sitting or standing. Now I am not saying that standing desks and supportive chairs or a good desk setup do not have their place, absolutely they do. However before you invest in changes to your work station, first, invest in movement – after all MOTION IS LOTION. The best standing desks, chairs or desk setups in the world will not counteract the 8 hour day of being sedentary.
I would encourage everyone to track the amount of time that you spend sitting every day for a week and average it out at the end. It will shock you just how much time we spend sitting.
It then becomes quite understandable why our back or neck or hips might be sore or stiff or why our muscle ‘tightness’ keeps coming back. Regular changes to position can assist in ‘offloading’ the parts of the body that are being stressed, dispersing the load across the body, minimising fatigue and keeping you more alert and productive throughout your work day.
Here are a few tips.
– Don’t spend all day JUST standing
– Alter your position regularly (set alarms if you need)
– If you regularly sit – try standing for ¼ of each hour
– twist/turn/bend/arch/seat forward/seat back/seat up/seat down – all day
– Stand up and walk over and touch the wall 1-2 times/hour
– Actively mobilise – aim for one minute of mobilising per hour stationary throughout the
day (examples below) – this can be done as a ‘payback’ method – throughout or at
the end of the day.
– Talk to us in the clinic for any further advice around desk/screen set-up, sit to stand
desks or tailored exercise to help manage pain.
If you feel that exercises and movement is not helping your postural pain, a treatment with one of our osteopaths may be exactly what you need. If you would like to book an appointment, feel free to contact us at the clinic 5215 1106 or click below.