Shani Soloff, PT, CEO and founder of Stamford Physical Therapy in Stamford, Connecticut, and The Posture People, a national
ergonomics consulting firm. ThePosturePeople.net
Having the perfect workstation on the job is essential to prevent issues such as back and neck strain and the resulting pain. How you sit at home is just as important, especially if home has become your new workplace. It is very easy to get lax about good positioning when you’re working in the dining room, reclining on the couch, eating in the kitchen or lounging in bed. Here’s how to sit smarter and comfortably to remain pain-free…
Find your most supportive chair. Whether you’re sitting at a desk for most of the day or just to pay bills, sit in a chair that allows your knees to bend with feet supported on the ground. If your feet don’t reach the ground, use a foot stool. Your thighs should be fully supported by the chair seat. The chair is too shallow if it ends at mid-thigh…too deep if your calves touch the edge. Better leg support means better back support.
Support your back—whether you’re sitting on an upright chair, the couch or a cushy chair. If the seat is deeper than the length of your thighs, place a pillow behind your back to fill the space. For extra lumbar support, place a folded towel or lumbar back cushion in the small of your back.
Beware:Low-backed couches and chairs do not provide adequate back support.
When in bed reading or watching TV, put a small pillow beneath your knees to maintain a small bend—keeping your legs out straight strains the low back.
Get up and move before you feel discomfort. Once an hour is typical, but if you know that you’ll start feeling stiff sooner, move sooner. Adopt new habits that drive movement such as using an upstairs bathroom when you’re downstairs and vice versa.
Change position whenever you change activity. Rather than go from sitting to sitting—for example, from working at your computer to reading on the couch—spend at least a few minutes standing up and/or walking in between activities.