6 Ways To Improve Your Posture At Work

6 ways to improve your posture at work

Neck and back pain are two of the most common diagnoses we treat here at Therapydia. While these symptoms are occasionally caused by an acute injury, more often than not they are simply the result of sitting for too long during the work day! Unfortunately, desk jobs are not going away anytime soon, so it is important to make sure that you are doing everything you can during the day to avoid the repeated stresses that bring so many into our clinic.

Here are a few handy tips to address your sitting posture during the work day:

  1. Sit with your feet flat on the floor

By ensuring that your feet are on the floor and not hanging or crossed, you are taking stress off of your legs and hips that can translate up to your pelvis and back. Moving your feet around during the day is fine, but make sure that your chair is low enough that your entire foot (heel and toe) can rest comfortably on the ground without having to strain or stretch. If you cannot fully reach the floor, or can only touch with your toes, your chair is too high!

2. Make sure your lumbar spine is supported

Most modern office chairs offer a good amount of lumbar support, but not all chairs are perfect for the individual sitting in them. Some people require a bit more support, while others may find that their chair doesn’t provide the required support in the correct spot in their back. Use a small lumbar support (either a lumbar roll, available online, or a rolled up sweater) to help provide a bit more support in the small of your back.

3. Adjust your monitor to eye level

One of the most common causes of neck and upper back pain is related to the flexed posture that individuals sit in during the work day. Whether this is from looking down at our phones, reading, or just staring at the computer screen, individuals with neck pain often have it because of sustained flexed posture. This puts more strain on most of the structures in the neck, along with the upper traps. By moving your desktop monitor up to head level so that you can look straight forward while working, you can significantly help to reduce the amount of strain put on your neck during the work day.

4. Keep your arms in a resting position

Some desks are too tall for the person working at them, which can lead to neck and shoulder pain! Ideally, your arms should be resting by your side while typing and working at a computer, not elevated or extended out in front of you. If you find that your arms are away from your body, try to adjust your keyboard and mouse (either in their position on the desk or by using a keyboard tray) to help reduce neck and shoulder strain.

5. Make sure everything is in front of you

When someone complains of neck or back pain only on one side of their body, it can sometimes be related to a repeated movement or position that is only done to that side. In the office setting, that can be something as simple as turning to pick up the phone, look at a second monitor, or turning to talk to a coworker. If you find that you are repeatedly turning to just one side, it may be worth reconfiguring your office space to make sure that you are working in both directions, or better centered to complete your daily work tasks.

6. Get up regularly!

Even those who start with perfect upright posture don’t always stay there for long. Slouching happens, and the best way to avoid sticking in that position for long periods is to stand up frequently throughout the work day. One helpful tip we provide many patients is to set a timer for every 30-45 minutes, then get up when that timer goes off. Even standing for 10 to 15 seconds and performing a stretch or two can make a huge difference in your overall posture, and how you feel throughout the day!

7 Stretches to Help You Stick to Your New Year’s Workout Plan

washington dc physical therapy stretch workout performance exercise

By Robert Rogacki, PT, DPT, CERT. MDT

Is “Exercise More” your 2019 resolution?

Every January, millions of newcomers flock to gyms across the country in hopes of losing weight, improving their physique, and starting a healthier lifestyle. As physical therapists, we love this! We want all of our patients to be happy and healthy, and regular exercise is a key component to both of those goals.

But with a new exercise regimen also comes an increased risk of injury. Regular stretching, with ample warm-up and cooldown periods, is essential for staying healthy while exercising. It can help you improve flexibility, reduce tightness and act as a great way to increase your chances of long-term success. Here are a few simple stretches you can do to stay limber as you get rolling with your new exercise program.

Standing Quadriceps Stretch

Stand on one leg, grab your ankle and pull your foot up towards your buttock. Make sure your knee stays parallel with your stand leg and does not move out in front of your body. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and perform 2-3 times on both sides.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

Prop your foot up onto a chair or step. Slowly lean forward, bending at the waist until you feel a stretch behind your thigh. Maintain a neutral spine throughout the stretch and do not lean forward for extra distance. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and perform 2-3 times on both sides.

Standing Calf Stretch

Stand facing a wall with one leg behind the other. Keep your back heel on the ground and lean forward toward the wall until a stretch is felt in the back leg. Your front knee should bend comfortably as you’re leaning forward. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and perform 2-3 times on both sides.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Place one knee on the ground (or on a pillow) and bring your other leg in front of you to achieve a half-kneeling position. While maintaining a neutral spine and upright posture, shift your hips forward until a stretch is felt in the thigh on your back leg (the one kneeling on the ground). Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and perform 2-3 times on both sides.

Posterior Shoulder Stretch

Reach one arm across your body. Use your other arm to pull at the elbow, taking the arm into more of a stretch. The stretch should be felt in the lateral or posterior shoulder, near the shoulder blade. Hold for each stretch for 30 seconds and perform 2-3 times on both sides.

Triceps Stretch

Reach one arm overhead, then bend your elbow as if to reach your hand down your back. Use your other arm to pull at the elbow, taking the arm into more of a stretch. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and perform 2-3 times on both sides.

Upper Trap Stretch

Tilt your head to one side. Using the arm on that same side, reach over the top of your head and pull further to the side until a stretch is felt along the other side of the neck. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and perform 2-3 times on both sides.

If you have any questions or any pain with these exercises, please consult a Therapydia physical therapist.