To Sit or Stand? That Is the Question.

Northwestern Medicine
Health and Wellness May 02, 2013
Mindy Cramer, DC, CCEP, FACO, is a chiropractor with Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group.

Sitting is a common cause of low back and neck pain.  It can cause strain and muscle imbalances, which tend to perpetuate poor posture.   Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you are aware of the new fad of standing while doing computer work.  Yes, that is a great idea.  In fact, the amount of sitting has been suggested in the research to be an important determinant of risk for developing a number of diseases, including cardiovascular disorders and diabetes. However, standing may not be an option for you, and ladies, let’s face it, standing in heels all day is not a great alternative.

The truth is, being in any one position for too long is bad for the body.  The body was meant to move.  For those of you that find yourselves behind a computer in that forward hunched posture and don’t have a standing/treadmill workstation, below are a few easy exercises you can do to help reduce the amount of strain on your neck and back.

The first exercise I show most of my patients that come in with postural strain is called The Brugger’s position.  This exercise can be performed right at your desk and draws little attraction from other coworkers.   The steps are quite simple:

A women sitting at her desk
  • Sit at the edge of your chair.
  • You’re feet are under your knees, a little further than hip with apart and turn your feet slightly out.
  • Roll your pelvis slightly forward so your lower back begins to arch.
  • Sit up straight as if you are being pulled by a string at the top of your head.
  • Rotate arms outward so the palms face forward.
  • Tuck your chin in slightly, like you are going to nod ‘yes’.
  • Hold this position and breathe deeply into your abdomen with your nose and exhale through pursed lips.
  • Repeat for two to three breaths and perform every 20-30 minutes.

Another strategy to try is the Micro Break.  This simply entails standing up with your feet shoulder width apart.  Raise your arms up overhead and take a deep breath in through your nose, hold your breath as you try to reach for the sky and then let your breath go as you drop your arms.  Repeat two to three times. This should also be performed every 30 minutes of sitting.

Chiropractic services focus on the relationship between the body’s structure- the spine and other joints- and its functioning.  The goal is to correct misalignments, alleviate pain, improve function and helps support the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

Chiropractic can help with many common musculoskeletal complains including: postural strain, headaches, back pain, sciatica, upper and lower extremity joint conditions and maintaining a healthy body.

Remember, the body was made to move. No matter how fancy or expensive your chair is, the best chair is the one you get out of the most!

Check out these NM Care Areas: