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Perfecting Your Posture at Work: Spinal Hygiene

 Proper Lifting Techniques:

  1. Stand perpendicular to the object.
  2. Start by bending your knees.
  3. Put your arm under the object such as a box.
  4. Lift with your legs first.
  5. Slide the object up to your pelvis.
  6. Than lift with your arms.
  7. No turning, no bending all the way with your back, and do not try to carry weight that you cannot lift.lifting posture2

Proper Lifting: Bad and Good Examples

lifting posture

Ergonomically Correct Posture:

With long hours spent at your desk, it can be difficult to keep good posture. To prevent your spine from taking on a “C” form, it is important to take steps to reduce your spinal pressure by sitting correctly so that your spine falls into its natural “S” position. Good posture can substantially improve the way your back and neck feel at the end of your workday Here are a few suggestions from The Back Store and Spine-health.com to help you improve your posture at work:


posture 3

  • Use a footrest: Purchase a footrest or use old phone books that are approximately four inches high. This will raise the height of your knees and effectively changes your center of gravity backwards, helping you to improve your posture.
  • Sit close to your desk: Be as close to the edge as possible. It will prevent you from bending forward over the desk.
  • Keep your back supported when sitting: When you will be sitting for long periods, you should make sure your back is supported from the lumbar region (lower back) to at least the shoulder blades. The chair you sit in should support the whole spine, right up to the neck. To avoid bending your neck to look down, try placing a small lectern on the desk or tabletop.
  • Take stretch breaks: If you are sitting for a long period of time, get up and stretch for a few seconds at least once every hour.


posture 2

  • Tilt your pelvis slightly forward (towards your rib cage): Tighten your abdominals and keep your head directly over your shoulders and pelvis. Try not to pull your shoulders back, as this may actually worsen y our posture. If it is hard for you to hold this position, try placing your feet slightly apart with one foot in front of the other and bend your knees a little.
  • Use a railing or box to prop one foot up: This will take some of the pressure off your back. You can also place a rubber mat on top of a concrete floor to help ease pressure.
  • Change your feet and positions at least every 20 minutes: This will keep your back from getting “stuck” in the same position.
  • Slightly bend at the knees: This is keep pressure off the knee joint, hips, ankles, and lower back. This will also help with circulation and a good work out for the legs.

Your Workstation


For optimum comfort, you should assess your workstation and make changes based on the types of tasks you do on a daily basis, and the amount of time spent sitting or standing. Spine-health.com offers these tips for creating a more comfortable work environment:

  • Take your task in consideration when choosing a surface height for your desk: For example, an architect will need a higher surface for drawing, but a person who works on a computer all day will more than likely want a desk surface where they can sit or stand, depending on the need to use other tools or references.
  • Adjust the seat of the office chair:
    • Your work surface should be elbow-high.
    • Your fist should be able to pass easily behind your calf and in front of the edge of the seat to keep your legs from being pressed too hard and your feet from swelling.
    • Two fingers should slip easily under your thigh. If not, place a footrest under your feet to raise your knees to the same level as your hips.
    • The backrest of your chair should push your lower back forward slightly.
  • Fix the height of your computer screen: Sit comfortably at your desk and close your eyes. Slowly reopen them. Where you first gaze is the place to put the center of your screen. You can easily raise you screen with books or a stand if need be.

Protect Your Eyes From Computer Eye Strain

Computer Desk Eye Bloodshot

Computer Desk Eye Bloodshot

Nearly 75 million Americans spend many hours a day working in front of a computer.  Over 50 percent report some form of eye strain, including eye fatigue, dry eyes, burning eyes, light sensitivity, blurred vision, and headaches as well as pain in the shoulder, neck or back.

If you are one of those suffering from computer eyestrain, here are some steps to take to protect your eyes and reduce eyestrain:

  • Have your eyes examined annually by an eye doctor.  If you wear glasses, consider a pair of glasses specifically designed for computer use. Also, consider glare coating on your lenses.
  • Select a computer monitor with a larger and flat screen.
  • Place your screen 20 to 26 inches away from your eyes and the top of the screen at or a little below eye level.  The monitor distance should allow you to read the screen without leaning your head, neck, or trunk forward or backward.  Adjust text size as needed for ease in reading.
  • To reduce glare, place your monitor perpendicular to a window, adjust or add window blinds, and reduce interior lighting to lower glare and reflections.  Use a task light that shines only on your paper.
  • Use an antiglare screen on your computer.
  • Take a vision break every 20 minutes or so and look, at an object 20 feet or more away to relax your eye muscles.
  • Blink your eyes regularly and more often to rewet your eyes and avoid dryness and irritation.  Use artificial tears if needed to lubricate your eyes.
  • Use a document holder placed next to your computer screen so you do not have to turn your head back and forth or constantly refocus your eyes.
  • Alternate your computer work with non-computer tasks to give your eyes a rest.