If you spend too much time sitting in your office chair, and have done so for many years, you may well develop muscle tension in several parts of your body. This tension occurs when the muscles adapt to the conditions to which they are exposed, which tends to create problems if the muscles become too short.
In other words, if you sit down for hours at a time, your body starts to mould into a passive seated posture with bent joints, which can make it hard to ‘straighten yourself out’ again.
Muscles that are too short generally prevent the body from working properly, which not only causes discomfort in the workplace, but also in your daily life when you take time off and want to use your body in a different way.
In the pictures below, physiotherapist Bjarke Bech Villadsen illustrates what happens to your body when you sit down for hours every day.
“In other words, if you sit down for hours at during the day, your body starts to mould into a passive seated posture with bent joints, which can make it hard to ‘straighten yourself out’ again.”
Do you suffer from tension headaches while sitting down to work?
Tension headaches come from the Pectoralis minor muscle, which is a small muscle that sits under the large pectoral muscle and between a protrusion on the shoulder blade and the ribs. During office work, it often becomes too tight and shortened, dragging the shoulder blade forward. This causes problems in the
muscles at the back of the shoulders and in the neck,often leading to soreness on the shoulders, between the shoulder blades, in the neck and in some cases tension headaches.
Hamstrings cause a curved back
When you sit on a chair, your back starts to slump. See the picture below. Although studies have yet to be carried out on this, your slumped back may well be due to an incorrect seated posture, which affects the back and inner thigh muscles. These muscles attach to the sit bones, which are the lower part of the pelvis. The muscles’ position is such that when you sit down, shortened muscles pull the pelvis so that it points backwards, as shown in the picture below. This will also cause the spine to point backwards, causing problems further up, leading to back pain.
An ergonomic chair can relieve tension headaches and a curved back
It is possible to relieve tension headaches and a curved back by sitting on an ergonomic chair that makes you sit with your hips at an open angle. The picture below illustrates how easy it is to sit in an ergonomically correct position.
The shape of the seat is important, partly because it stops you from sliding down the chair, and partly because it straightens the pelvis so that you avoid your back slumping and therefore straining the lower vertebrae.
If you suffer from back pain or tension headaches, then try one of our chairs for a free 14-day trial to see if it helps you.
This blog was written by physiotherapist Bjarke Bech Villadsen