Many of the patients visiting our Newcastle under Lyme and Stoke on Trent Chiropractic Clinics have occupations that force them to remain seated for many hours each day. These patients are often concerned about the impact that extended sitting may have on their posture and general health.
It is true that prolonged sitting is associated with several health conditions. This is the reason why so many people have started using standing desks in recent years. But are standing desks really that useful? In this post, our Stoke chiropractor explains what happens to your body when you sit all day and offer some tips for using a standing desk.
What Does Sitting Do To Your Body?
Sitting for long periods is unnatural to the human body and it can cause some dramatic changes to your musculoskeletal system over time, including:
Excessive sitting can cause your hip flexors to shorten and become tight. The hip flexors are a group of muscles near the top of the thighs which connect the upper leg to the hip. Tight flexors can eventually change the angle of your pelvis and may lead to back pain relating to tight hips.
When you are in a sitting position, you aren’t flexing your abdominal muscles. As a result, your core can become weak, which puts more pressure on your back.
Weak legs and glutes
The same applies for your leg muscles. Because they are used less often, they will begin to decline in strength, which can impact your health in various ways.
Stiff shoulders and neck
If you have ever sat hunched over a computer screen for hours, you would know how much it can affect the neck and shoulders. This occurs because your head tends to move forward when using an electronic device, placing more strain on the neck and shoulders. This can eventually lead to forward head posture.
Does Standing Help With These Issues?
Yes, standing more often can help you avoid the problems caused by excessive sitting. However, when it comes to standing desks, the answer is slightly more complex.
A standing desk is only useful if you use it correctly. Improper use can lead to health problems, including varicose veins, postural issues, muscle fatigue and lower limb swelling.
While a standing desk might improve your posture, it will not cure conditions like scoliosis or a bulging disc.
It’s also important to understand that if you have poor standing posture while using a standing desk, you may continue to suffer from back pain. Here are a few tips that our Stoke chiropractor has for using a standing desk correctly:
Adjust the desk to the right height
If you set your stand desk too high or too low, it may force your body into an unnatural position, placing additional strain on your muscles and joints. Adjust the height of the desk so your:
- Spine, neck, and head are aligned
- Spine has a relaxed “S” curve and your head is slightly back
- Wrists sit comfortably on the desk and your forearms are be parallel to the ground
- Computer monitor is at or slightly below eye level (if using one)
Take time transitioning to a standing desk
A number of people wind up at visiting our chiropractor in Stoke on Trent with a sore back after using a standing desk for a few weeks. That’s because they have suddenly made the transition from sitting all day to standing — and their body simply isn’t used to it.
When your bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons are used to sitting all day, it is a huge shock when you start standing for hours on end. You might experience a moderate amount of leg pain and back pain.
Avoid this issue by giving your body plenty of time to adjust. Start by standing for 20 minutes at a time a few times per day. Gradually increase the duration of your standing until you reach 30 minutes of standing every hour. This is when the health benefits of standing really start to kick in. Just take your time and listen to your body.
Think about your feet
Standing in one spot for an extended period can lead to sore feet and sore leg muscles. Make it easier on your feet and legs by wearing comfortable footwear with good arch support. Also, consider using an anti-fatigue mat, which has plenty of cushioning to improve your comfort levels.
Be mindful of posture and move about when possible
It’s important to understand that standing for long periods can be as bad for your health as sitting for long periods. It’s important to remember that standing for several hours with poor posture can cause back pain, sore muscles. and swelling.
To avoid these issues, take a short walk every 30 minutes. Use this time to go to the toilet, get a glass of water, chat to a colleague or if at home do some housework. This will help you avoid any issues that occur because you have stayed in one position for too long. Alternately, incorporate some stretches and short bursts of exercise throughout the day.
Digital Posture Analysis at Newcastle Chiropractic Clinic
Your posture is vital to how your body looks and feels.
Our chiropractor at Newcastle Chiropractic Clinic has been helping people regain a great posture for over 25 years. In addition to neurological and orthopedic examinations, we use the latest digital technology to accurately assess a patient’s posture. We are the only chiropractic clinic in Staffordshire to use Digital Posture Pro.
You can read more about the powerful tests we undertake to evaluate a patient’s posture here.
If you are suffering back pain or you think your posture is not as good as it could our experienced team of chiropractors are here to help. You can arrange a consultation at tNewcastle Chiropractor Clinic by calling 01782 711 191 or booking online on our website here.