Standing is the New Sitting

man standing at adjustable-height desk

There’s nothing like a catchy slogan to succinctly convey a complex concept, and “Sitting is the New Smoking” has done just that. More meaningful than the original “<Blank> is the New Black”, it’s become evident over years of research that the ease of information creation and flow brought about by technology has come at a cost to our overall health.

Prolonged sitting has been associated with pronounced increases in obesity, metabolic syndrome, and death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Further, early research is showing that even regular exercise does little to counteract the effects of too many hours spent in a chair.

The good news is that there are many ways to make big changes in the amount of time you spend sitting each day, both at work and after hours, leading not only to reducing your health risk, but gaining improvements in creativity, focus, and energy. (more…)

Why vision is such an important part of ergonomics

Woman trying to see computer

You’ve probably heard or noticed that working on a computer for a prolonged period of time can be hard on your eyes. You may notice symptoms such as burning, tightness, pain, watering, blurring, double vision, or headaches. These symptoms can vary from person to person, and are collectively referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome.

However, viewing your computer screen for prolonged periods of time can also contribute to back and neck pain for one simple reason: your body will follow your eyes. In other words, if you can’t see, you will move your body until you can, by bending forward, rounding your shoulders, or moving your head forward. All of these movements put your body into an unbalanced position, which leads to muscles that are tight and shortened, or stretched and lengthened, joints that don’t function well because the bones aren’t oriented properly, or compressed spinal discs.

Even a well-designed computer work area loses its effectiveness if you can’t see the monitor. (more…)

A Comprehensive, Root-cause Approach to Back Pain

Being free of back pain means doing the things you love

We’ve all heard people talk about how “their back went out”. Something like, I slipped on a wet floor and my back went out, or I bent down to pick up a sock and my back went out. Or maybe there was an event, such as an automobile accident, athletic event, or maybe it started at work. In many – most, actually – cases, the pain just started with no specific triggering event.

It seems intuitive to attribute the pain to the event that occurred at its start. However, with back pain it’s usually more of a “last straw”, in that there were things that you were doing on a regular basis that actually led to the “triggering event”. Primary contributing factors include inadequate movement, imbalanced postural mechanics, and stress; there are also several secondary factors. (more…)

Four Back Pain Myths

lower back hurtsMyth #1: I have a “bad back”, and it will never get better.

Most of us have heard people talk about their back “going out” or of having “a bad back”. Having heard these stories, we come to believe that there are two groups of people: the general population and those with ‘a bad back’. Further, we believe that once our back ‘goes out’ we become permanent members of the latter group.

It’s important to understand that the entire concept of a “bad back” is a belief, a myth. There are simply predictable factors that lead to the pain, and when we understand what is causing the pain, we can make the changes that will relieve it. (more…)