Posture is something we often take for granted, yet it is incredibly important for our overall health and well-being. Good posture is essential for maintaining a healthy musculoskeletal system (MSK), which is responsible for supporting our body’s movement, flexibility, and overall physical health.
Unfortunately, poor posture is a common problem in the modern workplace, where many of us spend long hours sitting at our desks, looking at computer screens, and performing repetitive tasks. In the UK, musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders are the most common cause of work-related ill-health, affecting an estimated 8.9 million people every year, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
“The root causes of poor posture are often attributed to inadequate workstations in office settings, and the development of poor posture can occur gradually over extended periods of time. However, making minor adjustments to one’s workstation can prevent the occurrence of poor posture. For instance, positioning computer screens at eye level can prevent neck pain, and utilising ergonomic chairs that properly support the lower back and maintain a 90-degree position can prevent common postural disorders. Improving one’s workstation can therefore contribute to a healthier musculoskeletal system.” – Josh Hairsine, Sports Rehabilitation Specialist.
MSK disorders include a wide range of conditions affecting the muscles, joints, and other tissues that support the body’s movement, including back pain, neck pain, repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), and other related disorders. Poor posture is a major contributor to MSK disorders and can cause a variety of physical symptoms, including pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion.
The good news is that by making some simple changes to our work habits and environment, we can improve our posture and reduce our risk of MSK disorders. Here are some practical tips for improving posture in the workplace:
Adjust your workstation: Make sure your desk, chair, and other equipment are set up correctly for your body size and posture. Your chair should be adjusted so that your feet are flat on the floor, your knees are at a 90-degree angle, and your hips are as far back in the chair as possible. Your monitor should be at eye level, and your keyboard and mouse should be positioned so that your arms are relaxed and your shoulders are not hunched.
Sit up straight: Keep your shoulders back and down, your chest lifted, and your head aligned with your spine. Avoid slouching or hunching over your desk, which can put excessive strain on your back and neck muscles.
Take frequent breaks: Take frequent breaks to stand up, stretch, and move around. This will help prevent stiffness and fatigue in your muscles and improve circulation to your limbs.
Use proper equipment: Use a keyboard, mouse, and other equipment that are ergonomically designed for your body size and posture. This will help reduce the strain on your muscles and joints, and make it easier to maintain good posture.
Stay active: Regular exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy musculoskeletal system. Aim to engage in a variety of physical activities, including strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and stretching.
In addition to these tips, it’s important to pay attention to your body and seek medical attention if you experience persistent pain, discomfort, or other symptoms related to poor posture. Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend specific exercises or treatments to help you manage your symptoms and prevent future problems.
Latus Health is committed to helping businesses promote good posture and reduce the risk of MSK disorders among their employees. By raising awareness of the importance of good posture and providing practical advice and resources for maintaining healthy musculoskeletal systems, we can help create healthier, happier, and more productive workplaces for everyone.