It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to solve the case of a “C” shaped back, when the curve of the spine moves away from its intended “S” shape, posture is almost always the culprit.
Dr. Chris Cush of Performance Spine and Sports Medicine in Newtown said that bad posture from desk jobs is extremely common today.
“We live in the perfect environment for bad posture,” said Cush. “People are glued to their computers, we are always on our cellphones looking down. I never see anybody upright, texting in a good position. You can only get away with this for a while, before it starts causing pain.”
The first tell-tale symptoms of somebody with bad posture that works at a computer is a forward head position. It’s followed by rounded shoulders and tends to give the spine a rounded “C” appearance. He said the overall look is a slump. And the “C” shape creates a lot of tension in the upper back, shoulder blades and lower back.
One way to combat bad posture is to have an ergonomic assessment of your work place. Cush said the problem of bad posture has led many companies to hire consultants to make sure that employees are using the proper desks and chairs to meet each person’s needs. This has led to an increase in standing desks, which can be helpful for people with lower back problems.
For those that can’t get an assessment Cush gave his top three tips for helping to combat posture problems:
1) Get up and move every hour.
2) Make sure your computer monitor is at eye level.
3) Periodically squeeze your shoulder blades together
He said each of these tips helps balance the effects of sitting for too long. He said there needs to be a balance of sitting, standing and movement for proper posture. It’s not ideal for people to stand all day just as it’s not great for them to sit all day.
He said that in terms of cardiovascular health, sitting has become the new smoking.
“People are putting in more hours sitting down, which systemically is not great”.
He recommends carving out time to get regular exercise and making sure that posture issues are addressed early.
“Most people think blowing a disc is all about acute injury, but bad posture is usually the pre-curser. It can lead to something larger or more ominous. It can bring out herniation’s and disc bulges.”
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