Office Syndrome is not an actual disease or condition. It is a collection of conditions that one might suffer due to sitting in front of the computer for prolonged period of time. Office syndrome occurs because we do not practice proper posture when sitting. When we sit over a long period of time, we tend to slouch and protrude our chin. As a result, our core muscles deactivate and become weak. In turn, other muscle groups become increasingly tense.
In this article, we’ll discuss what is considered good and bad posture, and strategies to mitigate office syndrome.
What is Poor Sitting Posture?
Poor Sitting posture is whatever causes overuse of specific muscles, ligaments, or tendons. Also, postures that put undue stress on a single joint or muscle is also considered poor posture. Some positions are worse than others in overworking or misusing specific postural tissues. Figure 1 shows a classing posture that we commonly adopt in our daily lives which puts a lot of stress to our spinal discs.
Common postural mistakes that we make include:
- Sitting slumped to one side with the spine bent
- Keeping the knees, ankles, or arms crossed
- Dangling or not properly supporting the feet
- Straining the neck while looking at monitor, phone or documents
- Not using back rest or not having proper support for back
- Sitting in one position for a long time
- Simply just sitting for too long without a break
Symptoms of Office Syndrome
Common symptoms of office syndrome include:
- Frequent Headaches
- Neck, Shoulder, and Back Pain
- Tingling, Numb arms and hands
- Eye Strain
- Dry Eyes
Good Sitting Posture
Now that we know what is bad sitting posture and why it is bad, let’s talk about good posture and how to get there.
Figure 2 shows the best sitting posture according to research. Here’s how you get there:
- Keep feet flat and rest them on a foot rest or the floor
- Avoid crossing knees and ankles
- Maintain a small gap between the knees and the chair
- The knees should be at the same level or slightly lower than the hips
- Place your ankles slightly in front of your knees
- Relax your shoulders
- Keep your forearms parallel to the floor
- Keep your elbows at about 90-100 degrees, creating an L-shape
- Sit up straight and rest on the back rest of your chair
- Keep your neck from straining by positioning your monitor directly in front of your eyes
- Take 5 minutes break every hour
Other Ways to Avoid Office Syndrome
Practicing good sitting posture is only one way of preventing office syndrome. One of the many other ways to avoid office syndrome is by exercising. The recommendation is 30 minutes of exercise, three to five times a week. It should include a combination of stretching, resistance, and aerobic exercises. If you’re doing resistance exercises, it is important to include exercises that strengthen your back, shoulder, and core muscles. Examples of such exercises are squats, lunges, push-ups, or chin-ups.
Other ways to avoid office syndrome lies in cultivating good habits that helps to avoid stressing specific muscles or joints. Examples of these are:
- Using earphones when making phone calls
- Placing lumbar support when sitting
- Wearing comfortable shoes
- Bending your knees when carrying heavy objects
As always, we hope that this article has been useful to you. You can find out about various topics on our other posts here. Below is a video of our therapist, Winsen, showing you 3 stretches that you can do in the office. Do check out our YouTube channel for more useful tips and exercises. If you have any questions, be sure to drop us a line and we’ll get back to you.https://youtu.be/_fnjx8f4KU0