Our aim at St Kilda Physiotherapy is to restore pain free movement, function and strength when at home, work and playing sport.
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Sitting and Posture


We are not designed for prolonged sitting, yet due to our jobs, some of us sit more than we should. We are designed to keep on the move- to chase, or to be chased, and if we force structures and parts to do otherwise problems arise.

This article will focus on the human spine and general fitness.

The spine can be viewed simply as a twig on a tree. If it keeps flexing in one direction only, it strains and stretches too far. This is what happens to some structures of our spine during prolonged sitting.  Pressure on joints, ligaments, discs, muscles and nerves can result in injury and pain.

When we say spine, we are talking of the lower back, upper and mid back and the neck. Any of these areas can be injured due to prolonged sitting.

So what do we do if our job makes us sit too long? The first thing is to keep good posture. By this we mean to sit as upright as you can. A lumbar roll, or lumbar support forces you to sit upright and physiotherapists recommend them widely. Having a low chair relative to your desk height will encourage you to sit upright as well.

If you are using a computer, try to have the screen at eye level and the keyboard about a foot lower. Laptops are therefore a problem so if you have to use a laptop plug in an exterior keyboard for greater distance apart. Your arms can be supported on the desk as you can look straight ahead.

Even with good sitting posture we can still have spinal pain. Good posture gives us a fighting chance so what else can we do?

Have frequent breaks- it is recommended to get up at least every 40 minutes or so. Don’t be too efficient – if you have to get up 9 or 10 times a day to do a task standing, then do it.
Also try to exercise and keep fit. Do you remember the twig on the tree? Stretch it the other way by swimming or walks. After sitting all day few of us can summon the energy to exercise but that is what we should do.

Sitting for long periods tires out our muscles that support sitting. When they get tired ligaments, nerves and joints are put under strain and they can be injured. To make things worse if we don’t exercise these muscles tire easily because they are weak.

Getting started with exercise is the hard part. Once you do, you will feel better, and feel you have more energy to exercise. You will be doing that you are designed to be doing- keeping on the move.

This article mainly discusses the health benefits of your spine but it is also important to talk about the general benefits of exercising versus sedentary lifestyle – lots of sitting.

Your mental state will improve. Exercise is known to decrease depression. Your heart and lungs will benefit with increased exertion as well. You will also feel better. Your bones and muscles will get stronger. You will look better too.

Being sedentary is a major factor for many serious diseases. All the evidence is compelling. In the western world, too much sitting is affecting our health negatively. So keep good sitting posture, get up more often during the working day and exercise!

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