Sitting Disease & Computer Ergonomics to Save You

     A study in 2013 (by Ergotron) found that 70% of all Americans have to sit all day at work.  When you combine the hours working with hours watching tv, playing games and lounging – that is a total of an average of 13 hours a day and sleeping an average of 8 hours resulting in a sedentary lifestyle of around 21 hours a day!  While Americans know about the importance of exercise, only 31 percent go to the gym.

The survey also found that the vast majority (93 percent) didn’t know what “Sitting Disease” is, but 74 percent believe that sitting too much could lead to an early death.  The term “Sitting Disease” has been coined by the scientific community and is commonly used when referring to metabolic syndrome and the ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle.  Also in 2013, the American Medical Association adopted a policy recognizing potential risks of prolonged sitting and encouraging employers, employees and others to make available alternatives to sitting.

“Research is showing links between sedentary lifestyles and diabetes, several types of cancer, obesity and cardiovascular disease,” said Jane Payfer, an Ergotron spokesperson. “There is a significant opportunity for people to change their behavior in the workplace and for corporations to change their cultures. Standing increases energy, burns extra calories, tones muscles, improves posture, increases blood flow, reduces blood sugar levels and ramps up metabolism. Frequently overlooked, standing more is the simplest, easiest change someone can make.”  The World Health Organization (in 2015) stated that prolonged sitting, meaning sitting for eight to 12 hours or more a day, increased your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 90%.

So how do we combat ‘Sitting Disease’?

With proper computer ergonomics.  Working at a computer for long periods of time causes strain to our bodies, especially our spine, and results in many nerve system problems.  People at work or children at home who spend a lot of time on computers may be putting their health at risk due to an overload of stress to their spine.  Here are some practical tips that can reduce some of the spinal stress.

 

  • Take breaks from sitting throughout the day to walk around.
  • Invest in a standing work desk or one that converts from sitting to standing.
  • Exercise during your lunch break, even just walking around to promote movement, cardio and fitness.
  • Set your chair height so that your forearms are at a right angle to the upper arm and your wrist is straight. Your upper arm should hang comfortably at the side of your body.
  • Adjust the backrest of your chair to support your lumbar spine. Relaxed muscles will not fatigue over time.
  • Place a footrest under your desk so that you are leaning back into your chair, this prevents tension in the mid to upper back. This is very important because these are the nerves that control your heart, lung and stomach function.
  • Your knees should be level or slightly higher than your hips, so you may have to adjust your seat tilt. This helps to prevent swelling in the feet and calves and reduces pressure on your sciatic nerves.
  • Be sure to use a glare reducing screen and have no bright lights behind you or in front of you. Also, if your screen faces a window and the view is filled with sunlight at certain times of day, close your blinds or draw the curtains to decrease eyestrain.
  • Your eye level should be at the top or within the top half of your screen. Many people have their screen height too low, so grab some old telephone books and prop yours up if you need to.
  • Use a vertical copy stand to reduce tension in the neck and place it directly beside the screen.
  • Your mouse should be right beside the keyboard. If you have a keyboard tray and the mouse doesn’t fit, extensions are available.  This is a good investment because if you’re reaching for your mouse all day, you’re subluxated.
  • The distance between your wrists and your screen should be about 15 inches. Any more and you’ll be tempted to lean in.
  • The distance from your eye to the top of your screen should be 18-24 inches. Don’t sit too close and don’t sit too far away.
  • Have regular spinal check ups. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

We see success with many symptoms in our office, call us if you are ready to change your life!

“Dr. Matt” as he is known to his patients, is in private practice, an author, nationally sought after speaker, podcaster, visionary, Doctor of Chiropractic and health ambassador to the general public as he educates and empowers others about true health and well-being.  He works out of two health clinics in Roswell and Johns Creek, GA (both are just north of Atlanta) and has over 12 years of clinical experience.  You can reach him at (drmattcares@gmail.com)

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