02 July 2010 #Employment
When you were younger, was your mum always telling you to sit up straight? Well it turns out her advice may have been wrong.
Research carried out at Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen has utilised MRI technology to show that sitting upright in your chair is actually bad for office workers as it places an unnecessary strain on your back.
22 volunteers with healthy backs were scanned using a positional MRI machine which allows patients to move around during the test. The test patients assumed three different sitting positions: a slouching position, in which the body was hunched forward as if they were leaning over a desk; an upright 90-degree sitting position; and a "relaxed" position where they leaned back at 135 degrees keeping their feet on the floor.
The researchers then took measurements of spinal angles and spinal disk height and movement across the different positions. The results showed that the best position in which to sit at your desk is leaning back at about 135 degrees.
Data from the British Chiropractic Association says 32% of the population spends more than 10 hours a day sitting down and therefore it is important to ensure your workers are sitting comfortably and that they take adequate rest breaks to move around. Regular assessments of employees desk areas should also be undertaken so any problems can be picked up quickly and dealt with before they are exacerbated. Failure to do so may result in increased absence levels as employees take time off sick with back and neck complaints.