Stories from each side of the Atlantic Ocean have highlighted the benefits of good posture and its relationship to good overall health. One of the articles found in the May 4, 2005 PR Newswire highlights the problem that many people spend all day tapping away on a keyboard at the office only to come home and slouch in a recliner for hours while watching TV. This article points out that 80 percent of Americans have not only endured back pain, but contribute to it in the way they sit, exercise, work and sleep.
Across the “pond” in a related April 2005 article from the British “ResponseSource.com” comes the headline, “Work May Be Hazardous to Your Health.” This article also highlights the dangers of workplace posture and its effect on health. In this article the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) joined forces with Targus, leading supplier of mobile computing cases, to conduct the research that showed that a third of office workers make no adjustments to either seating or computer equipment when switching desks. The article noted that the same percentage of office workers say they currently suffer back pain – and experts believe there may be a link.
The American PR Newswire article noted that the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) was declaring May to be “Correct Posture Month” and is using this event to highlight the relationships between posture and health. Spokesperson for the ACA Dr. Jerome McAndrews stated, “Once established, poor posture creates a chain reaction throughout the body. The digestive and respiratory systems will be affected by poor posture, especially poor sitting posture. And in more serious cases, where poor posture has had major effects on the musculoskeletal system, there can be a resulting negative impact on the vascular system.”
In the British article, Tim Hutchful from the British Chiropractic Association commented, “Whether at work or at home, computers have begun to dominate our lives, yet what we don’t realise is that they in fact have the ability to damage our health. The nation is suffering from an epidemic of back pain and our working lives could be contributing to this. By taking time to adjust your chair and by taking regular breaks can help protect your spine and prevent the onslaught of back pain”.
Both Chiropractic organizations released a series of recommendations to help deal with the posture issue. Similarly, The International Chiropractors Association also released recommendations related to posture and sitting at work. These include:
When sitting – use a chair with firm low back support. Keep desk or table top elbow high, adjust the chair or use a footrest to keep pressure off the back of the legs, and keep your knees a little higher than your hips. Get up and stretch frequently–every hour if you sit for long periods of time. Do not sit on a fat wallet; it can cause hip imbalance!
When working on a computer – take a one or two minute task break every 20 minutes when you work at a computer screen. Keep the screen 15 degrees below eye level. Place reference materials on a copy stand even with and close to the terminal.