How To Sit Better: Tips To Save Your Spine

In honor of Administrative Professionals Day, we salute all those who spend their workdays at a desk, frequently hunched over a computer trying to accomplish more work than the time will allow. And who still answer the phone with a cheerful voice. And maintain a professional dignity even when the printer starts spewing everything in triple-size fonts.
If it weren’t for administrative professionals, business would come to a halt. That’s true at hospitals, too, where administrative professionals keep the patient floors and support departments humming along so that the clinical departments can focus on patient care.
So as a small thank you to all the administrative professionals out there, here are some tips for setting up your workplace properly.

Don’t Just Sit There
Even if you get plenty of physical activity in your day, chances are you find yourself doing a lot of sitting. Being seated for long periods of time can be tough on your back and your neck—and, you may be surprised to learn, your feet and legs, too.


One thing you can do wherever you are is to take breaks every 30 minutes or so. Get up and stretch. Try reaching your arms over your head or gently rolling your neck. And change positions frequently while in your chair. 

At work, start by setting up your workspace properly, suggests the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

  1. Get a chair that adapts to your body and includes armrests that support your forearms. 
  2. Sit back in the chair while working at the computer and keep your elbows near your waist. 
  3. Position your thighs horizontal with your knees at about the same level as your hips, and rest your feet comfortably on the floor. If your chair rolls and pivots, don’t twist at the waist; turn your whole body instead.
  4. Place your computer keyboard one or two inches above your thighs if possible. Try to keep your arms perpendicular to the floor and your wrists nearly straight.
  5. Position your monitor at arm’s length with the top of the viewing screen at eye level.


Try these strategies for improving your posture while seated away from work.


Even when you’re relaxing at home, try to keep your back straight and your shoulders back while seated. A small rolled-up towel or lumbar roll placed behind your lower back can help you maintain the normal curves in your back.
When driving, keep your knees at the same level or higher than your hips and consider using a lumbar roll. Adjust the seat so you can comfortably reach the steering wheel and the pedals while maintaining the natural curve of your back.
If you frequently use your cell phone for texting or reading e-mails, don’t hunch over it. Look up from the screen every few minutes or bring the device up to eye level.


If you find these techniques aren’t enough, professional help may be in order. Visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/physician to find a physician who can advise you on a fitness plan, or whether physical therapy might be helpful.

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