Do you slouch at your desk? Here’s why it could actually be good for your spine

Monday, 20th May 2019, 11:28 am
Updated Monday, 20th May 2019, 13:43 pm
Good news for those who love a slouch - it could actually be good for us (Photo: Shutterstock)

How many times have you been told to sit up straight or to stop slouching?

It turns out that our imperfect posture might not be so bad for us after all.

According to a variety of studies undertaken by various institutions, allowing ourselves to slouch could actually be beneficial for our joints.

Is slouching actually good for your back?

The physiotherapy department at the University Hospital of North Tees carried out one such investigation and found that some slouching “can provide a valuable alternative to upright sitting” and that some slouching might just be what the doctor ordered.

“[Slouching] may be recommended for recovering spinal height in the working environment following periods of loading,” the study says.

Slouching reportedly allows more fluid to work its way in between our spinal discs, which helps to reduce stiffness in our joints.

Meanwhile, the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) used MRI scans to find that the ideal position for those sitting at a desk is to be at a 135 degree angle - leaning back.

The study analysed the strain on the spine caused by three common desk sitting positions - hunched forward, upright at a 90 degree angle and leaning back.

Spinal disc movement causes the internal disc material to become misaligned, which causes us pain and occurs when a strain is placed on the spine.

The study by the RSNA found that disc movement was found to be at its highest when sitting upright at a 90 degree angle.

On the other side of the world, Australian researchers found that a combination of slouching and sitting upright is better for us than trying to stay in one position throughout the day.

How does slouching negatively affect us?

Like everything else in life, too much of one thing can be bad for us.

Long term slouching can lead to medical complications including arthritis, poor circulation and shoulder and back pain.

According to the NHS website, poor posture can also lead to kyphosis, which is curvature of the spine.

Everyone has a natural curve to their spine, but anything beyond 45 degrees is considered excessive.

Aside from causing the spine to be noticeably curved, kyphosis can also cause back and neck pain, a tender spine and fatigue.

Severe kyphosis could lead to symptoms worsening as you get older, with difficulty breathing and eating being a possibility.

How to help stiff joints

The NHS has a lot of advice regarding how to combat bad posture and its effects.

There are a variety of exercises that you can do to help.

In the short term you should be more mindful about how long you spend sitting in a day.

With many adults in the UK spending between seven and ten hours sitting or lying down, according to the NHS, you should make sure to take regular intervals to talk a walk.

Experts recommend that you should take a break from sitting every 30 minutes.

This article originally appeared on our sister site Edinburgh Evening News