There are more people working from home now than at any other time in history. This means millions of people had to quickly create 'at home' work stations where they could do their jobs.
Unfortunately, many of these work stations were not planned out to maximize ergonomics and minimize postural stressors.
Sitting at a computer is not ideal for any of us humans. Even if you have 'good' posture and a work station set up properly, sitting for prolonged periods of time can eventually cause problems.
If your spending hours a day on a computer, use this picture as a 'self help' tool for how to do it right. Have someone take a picture of you sitting at your computer and compare it this picture.
Why does poor posture and prolonged sitting cause problems?
The answer is Viscoelasticity
Viscoelasticity is a property that our muscles, tendons, and ligaments possess. Basically, it means that your soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments) will change shape to the position they are in most.
What this means to you - Look at the above picture and look at the hips. You'll notice that when sitting the hip joint is closed or flexed. Hours a day in this position will actually SHORTEN the muscles in the front of the hips(hip flexors) which can lead to stiffness and pain. Same applies to the muscles in neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, knees, etc.
Understanding Viscoelasticity will greatly help you avoid and decrease problems caused by sitting. It takes time for tissues to shorten or 'creep' into different and possibly detrimental positions and that's where the real battle is.
Time is your enemy when it comes to postural stressors. Tissue 'creep' or shortening will get worse based on how long those tissues have been shortened.
Let's use the example of the hips from the picture above. Those muscles in the front of the hip (hip flexors) will become shortened from sitting all day unless you take periodic breaks and lengthen the muscles and improve blood flow.
How long is too long to void postural problems?
For most people, being in a static position for more than about 20 minutes will create shortening of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments which can lead to pain, stiffness, and increased risk of injury!
You're telling me I have to get up and stretch every 20 minutes?
Yes, but it doesn't take long to balance things back out and get some blood into the tissues that are getting tight. Even a couple minutes of walking around and stretching is enough to fight this battle.
If you'd like to schedule a professional ergonomic assessment of your current work station, please contact me directly. These ergonomic assessments can be done online through doxy.me/drrosshanson.