Posture can have an important effect on people’s longevity and health.
Dr. Gary Lipkin with Longview Chiropractic Center says proper posture in the workplace is crucial to preventing injury and improving overall quality of life, and it also saves employers and employees millions of dollars in the long run.
“Proper workplace posture is important because it reduces employee injuries and impairment and saves the employee a lot of time and money,” Lipkin says. “There’s millions of dollars of lost work and impairment due to improper lifting, sitting and standing in jobs that require proper body posture.”
Lipkin says correct posture begins at home, but can be translated into what you do at work.
When standing for longer periods of time, he suggests resting one leg on a stool or bar so that one knee is bent, which relieves pressure from the back. When sitting, it’s important to use an ergonomically designed chair that has good lateral and lumbar support for the lower back and keeps a person’s knees higher than his or her hips, Lipkin says.
“Sitting is the worst position for your back,” Lipkin says. “So it’s very important to sit correctly and take as much pressure off your lower back as you can.”
Lipkin says it’s beneficial to sit in a chair that can be slightly reclined, taking the weight of your upper back off your lower back and transferring the weight to the back of the chair and down to the legs of the chair.
“That’s why when people go home, they sit in recliners,” Lipkin says. “It takes pressure off your back and puts the weight on the back of the recliner.”
In jobs that require prolonged standing or walking, Lipkin suggests wearing a supportive belt or back brace in order to maintain correct posture. He says being conscientious of your posture at work is the first step to preventing back injury.
“People are living and becoming more active well into their 80s and 90s,” Lipkin says. “Because people are living longer, they’ll want to keep their frame — their spine and joints — from wearing out. Practicing some simple things to improve your posture will reduce workplace injuries and reduce chronic lower back pain, which in turn affects your quality of life.”
Lipkin suggests taking periodic breaks at work and stretching your muscles, particularly if you work at a desk or sit in a chair all day.
“Chronic posture issues can lead to chronic pain issues in your back,” Lipkin says. “By not standing correctly at work or prolonged sitting in bad chairs — even sleeping in bad, non-supportive beds — that can lead to chronic pain, like pinching of the nerves.”
Lipkin says many people don’t know the proper ways of sitting and standing (or the right chairs and beds to buy), so it’s important to consult a professional often.
“There are basic postural guidelines (for any body type),” Lipkin says. “However, we’re all built differently. Sometimes people have to work on weight loss or stretching their muscles. But anytime you have progressive pain that’s not going away, you’ll want to consult a health care professional or a chiropractor.”
For more information on correct workplace posture, visit longviewchirocenter.com.