You Should Probably Sit Up For This: Physical Therapist On Building Better Posture

Bad posture can lead to health problems.

Physical therapist Rupal Patel (@rupal512) joins Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson to explain why slouching is bad for you, and share advice on ways you can stop.

What Is Good Posture, And Why Is It Important?

“To me, good posture is carrying your body in a way that is mechanically safe,” Patel says. “So, that means that your spine is in its natural curves, which allows the muscles to activate from the inside out, and gives us a solid foundation for when we need to move.

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Experts Recommend 2-4 Hours of Standing During Workday

That old REM song was right: you should stand in the place where you work. And now, according to some researchers, you can tack on “for about 2 to 4 hours a day” to the lyrics.

A new consensus statement from an international expert panel has established that workers whose jobs are “predominantly desk-based” should stand at least 2 hours per workday and move toward the goal of 4 hours of standing for optimum health. The recommendations were developed in response to multiple studies that have established the negative health effects of prolonged sitting, and media coverage that dubbed sitting as “the new smoking.”

Full story of standing during work days at APTA

New Device Promotes Work/Work Balance

Want to feel more instability at work? Say hello to the standing desk surfboard.

A recent article in Fast Coexist features “The Level,” the latest addition to office furniture designed to encourage healthy physical habits in the workplace. Essentially a kind of skateboard deck with a curved bottom, the Level is an attempt to provide standing desk users with an unstable (though safe) platform that requires more muscles to maintain balance.

The device capitalizes on growing concern over the detrimental health effects of long periods of sitting, and a move toward desks that require that users stand, or self-adjust to allow standing work as an option.

Full story of the level device at APTA

Evidence on Standing Desk Benefits Doesn’t Sit Well With Researchers

Fans of standing desks may want to take a seat for this: apparently, it’s hard to come by solid research confirming that the new trend in desks actually decreases time spent sitting.

A newly released Cochrane review of studies on the effects of interventions aimed at reducing sitting time for office workers asserts that most evidence to date is of “low to very low quality.” (APTA members can access the full text via the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in PTNow ArticleSearch.

The good news? That low-to-very-low quality evidence seems to point toward a reduction in sitting time when study participants used a “sit-stand desk” that would allow them to work standing up at least part of the time.

Full story of standing desk benefits at APTA

‘Text Neck’ the Focus of Upcoming Study

A recent story in the Washington Post describes the upcoming publication of a study that analyzed the burden placed on the cervical spine through the typical posture of people looking at their smartphones—head tilted down at angles as severe as 60 degrees. At that angle, researchers determined that weight on the cervical spine increases to about 60 pounds.

According to the Post report, the “text neck” posture seen just about everywhere is like “carrying an 8-year-old around your neck several hours per day,” at the rate of between 700 to 1,400 hours a year. For adolescents, that number could be 5,000 hours higher. The poor posture can lead to degeneration of the spine.

Full story of text neck at APTA

Shirts May Be No Slouch When it Comes to Posture

A July 21 Wall Street Journal article reports on preliminary studies of “posture” shirts—essentially shirts with built-in elastic bands that work with muscle groups to correct slumping shoulders and drooping heads—that show improvements in neck and back pain, and some increase in sports performance.

The WSJ article points out that even if the shirts do alter posture while they’re worn, the issues behind the posture problem may not be properly addressed—an idea attributed to Timothy Sell, PT, who was interviewed for the piece. Sell points out that underlying problems, such as an imbalance between pectoral and back muscles, need to be corrected to truly address poor posture.

Full story of posture health at APTA

Prevention is key to conquering lower back pain

While millions of American men and women will experience lower back pain this year, a little bit of prevention can go a long way to lessen the severity of the pain or even avoid it altogether. Here are some simple steps to better back care:

1. Don’t be a slouch

Mom was right when she told you to sit up straight. Good posture helps minimize chronic back conditions because it strengthens core muscles and can reduce pain. Your stomach and back muscles work in tandem to support your spine.

Strong muscles and flexibility in the lower body area — hips, thighs and pelvic area — is important for good pelvic alignment and support. Take care of your body for less pain.

2. Exercise regularly

Walking, swimming, riding your bike, or even taking a walk around the mall can improve your muscle function. Thirty minutes of walking a day will help improve chronic pain, prevent injury, and offer many other health benefits, such as decreasing your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary artery disease and many other problems.

Full story of preventing back pain at the Chicago Tribune

Backache a real pain for nearly 80% of adults

ON ANY day in Australia, one quarter of the population suffers back pain, according to the University of Sydney.

At the same time, nearly 80% of adult Australians will experience back pain sometime during their lives.

In fact back pain is the leading cause of lost work days with 25% of sufferers in the 18-44 age group taking 10 or more days off per year.

This costs Australia about $4.8 billion each year for health care.

If you suffer from chronic or acute back pain, you may be tempted to visit your GP for painkillers and for x-rays and these may indeed be necessary.

However, conquering back pain may require a more comprehensive approach, including physiotherapy, osteopathy, daily exercises, adjustments to your work station, a different sleeping and standing posture and more.

Taking classes in Alexander Technique may also help you learn to use your body differently, while Pilates classes can help strengthen your core muscles to support your back.

Full story of back pain among adults at the Daily Mercury

What’s really causing your back pain? Eight everyday habits that could be to blame

A shocking survey ­carried out by the ­British ­Chiropractic Association has found two in three of us have suffered serious neck or back pain by the time we hit 35.

What to Blame for Back PainAdd in people over 35 and the figures reach eight in 10.

It’s no wonder back problems are the ­biggest cause of time off work in the UK, and the second most common reason for going to the GP.

But the latest ­research also shows surprisingly few cases of back pain are the result of a serious accident or ­injury – the vast majority are caused simply by the cumulative effects of lifestyle that we tend to ignore.

For example, the Prime Minister David Cameron’s recurrent back pain is likely to have been ­triggered, at least in part, by all those hours at a desk or travelling in cars – and stress when he’s not chillaxing on holiday.

“Simple daily habits, such as hunching to read your smart phone, slouching in front of your computer – even having a weekend lie-in – can, over time, strain your spine and the surrounding muscles, leaving you vulnerable to serious back injury,” agrees BCA chiropractor Tim Hutchful.

“People will come to me in pain and say, ‘I just bent down to pick something up and my back went’, but actually it’s their ­behaviour in the months or years before which has led to the weakness – the one-off event is just the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.”

So to stop back pain now – and prevent future agony – try targeting the following unexpected culprits…

Full story of back pain causes to blame at the Mirror Lifestyle UK

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Wake-up call: Are you making these five ergonomics mistakes?

Five Ergonomic MistakesAt some point, you’ve probably been given advice for making your workstation “more ergonomic.” Friends and colleagues tell you to raise your monitor a little here, nudge your keyboard a little there, and maybe even purchase one of those fancy (read: expensive) chairs.

Ideally, we’d all be hearing such advice from certified ergonomics professionals. In the real world, however, most of us will likely never speak to such experts, much less have the luxury of an ergo evaluation.

If you’re reading this article, you’re already taking a long stride in the right direction. Get comfy while we reveal some of the most common, detrimental ergonomics-related mistakes. And look out for our complete guide to setting up your own ergonomic workstation later this week.

Mistake No. 1: Ignoring ergonomics

“Walk into any Starbucks and you’ll find the problem,” says Alan Hedge, a professor at Cornell University, who has been teaching, researching, and speaking about ergonomics for more than 30 years.

As he points out, we slouch, strain, and adapt to poor setups without considering the long-term effects on our bodies. Though some corporate employees benefit from an in-house ergo program, those who work from home (or a secondary spot, like a cafe), are especially likely to ignore ergonomics.

Full story of ergonomic mistakes at

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin,