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Science

Best Sitting Posture Is Not Straight Up 291

Posted by kdawson
from the try-typing-in-that-position dept.
An anonymous reader writes, "Researchers at Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen, Scotland used a new form of magnetic resonance imaging to collect images from 22 healthy volunteers, who assumed three different sitting positions: slouching posture in which the body is hunched forward, an upright 90-degree sitting position, and a relaxed position where the subject reclined backward 135 degrees. They concluded that the reclined position is the best, and the forward slouch the worst." From the article: "'We were not created to sit down for long hours, but somehow modern life requires the vast majority of the global population to work in a seated position,' Dr. Bashir said. 'This made our search for the optimal sitting position all the more important.'"
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Best Sitting Posture Is Not Straight Up

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  • by Akvum (580456) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:17PM (#17021608) Homepage Journal
    Or did you start to slouch the moment you read this?
    • by RsG (809189) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:26PM (#17021804)
      Start?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Phisbut (761268)
      Or did you start to slouch the moment you read this?
      Unfortunately, the problem with the 135 degrees position is that you need a very good chair with a head-rest, otherwise, sitting at 135 degrees while keeping you head straight (in order to be looking horizontally at your monitor, rather than at the ceiling) hurts the neck.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by udderly (890305) *
        Right. I'm moved my mouse and keyboard to try out the whole 135 degree thing. I have to admit that it does seem very comfortable for my back and hamstrings, my chair doesn't have a headrest and my neck is starting to fatigue. I wonder about moving the monitor closer to me, higher up and tilting the top of it downward some. Of couse I would need some sort of fancy mount to do that.
      • by greenbird (859670) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:50PM (#17023564)
        Or did you start to slouch the moment you read this?
        Unfortunately, the problem with the 135 degrees position is that you need a very good chair with a head-rest, otherwise, sitting at 135 degrees while keeping you head straight (in order to be looking horizontally at your monitor, rather than at the ceiling) hurts the neck.

        I'm typing this reclined in a lazyboy with a 22" wide screen monitor, mounted with an arm to the desk next to the chair, hovering about 18" away from eyes at a perfect viewing angle using a wireless keyboard and trackball connected to an 8 way KVM with 5 computers lined up within reach under the desk next to the chair. Add in the sound system, 42" HD LCD TV visible just to the right of the monitor and it makes for a work environment I don't mind spending 14 hours a day in. Oh... I also have an exercise bike that the arm mounted monitor can reach and I rigged with mounts for the keyboard and trackball. The only thing I haven't figured out is the whole bathroom thing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MojoStan (776183)

        Unfortunately, the problem with the 135 degrees position is that you need a very good chair with a head-rest, otherwise, sitting at 135 degrees while keeping you head straight (in order to be looking horizontally at your monitor, rather than at the ceiling) hurts the neck.

        Maybe office chair manufacturers should take some design hints from car seat manufacturers. I once sat behind the wheel of a low-to-the-ground Ferrai Testarossa [wikipedia.org], and almost felt like I was lying on my back. However, the headrest's desig

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sparkane (145547)
      Actually it really made me sit up and take notice.

      sig: "I'll slouch when I'm dead!"
    • by danpsmith (922127) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:25PM (#17023108)
      Or did you start to slouch the moment you read this?

      Oh come on, I was already leaning back, don't you remember? Fat Joe told us to do this a couple years ago.

    • Or did you start to slouch the moment you read this?
      I got this mental image of Cartman and gang on the WoW episode of Southpark during their 6 week power-leveling marathon. :)
    • by davidsyes (765062) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:52PM (#17024750) Homepage Journal
      "Help wanted. Many positions available" images...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tobiasly (524456)
      HA! You were WRONG all those years, Mom! Sitting up straight isn't better... IN YOUR FACE!! BOOOYAAAAA...
  • Vast majority? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by benhocking (724439) <benjaminhocking@ ... m minus caffeine> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:18PM (#17021628) Homepage Journal
    Does the vast majority of the global population really work in a sitting position, or is it just the vast majority that are participating in the "global economy"? I.e., if you factor in the billions who are living in poverty, is that statement still true? I'm skeptical.
    • by LoudMusic (199347)
      Does the vast majority of the global population really work in a sitting position, or is it just the vast majority that are participating in the "global economy"? I.e., if you factor in the billions who are living in poverty, is that statement still true? I'm skeptical.

      Well don't even consider the unemployed. How about the hundreds of millions of factory workers in countries as prosperous as the United States (and company). Or the farmers and ranchers. I don't have specifics but I'd bet there are 10x as man
      • Re:Vast majority? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:50PM (#17022378)
        Well don't even consider the unemployed.

        They would spend their days either sitting on a couch or a bar stool. They would slouch backward on a couch, which is good, or slouch forward on a bar stool, which is bad.

        I don't have specifics but I'd bet there are 10x as many jobs not sitting at a desk as there are that this study effects.

        75% of the first-world economy is in the service sector. This tends to mean desk jobs. Farmers would probably spend a good deal of time sitting while driving equipment or filing for government hand-outs. Many factory workers would be seated, too, on stools to assemble small items. I would guess that less than 10% of jobs require a significant amount of standing/moving.

        • 75% of the first-world economy is in the service sector. This tends to mean desk jobs.

          Riiight. Go to any restaurant or store and tell me how many of the waiters or salespeople you see sitting. Is this kind of work an insignificant part of the service sector?

          • Go to any restaurant

            I find it ironic you say that. I wonder what the customers are doing? Floating?
            • However, the original statement (FTFS) was:
              "'We were not created to sit down for long hours, but somehow modern life requires the vast majority of the global population to work in a seated position,' Dr. Bashir said.
              So, although I was questioning "vast majority", it was in the context of the "work" comment.
        • by Lumpy (12016)
          Many factory workers would be seated, too, on stools to assemble small items. I would guess that less than 10% of jobs require a significant amount of standing/moving.

          You've never held a factory job have you....

          You stand, they reprimand you for sitting in a factory.

        • Re:Vast majority? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by bchernicoff (788760) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:46PM (#17023488)
          Farmers would probably spend a good deal of time sitting while driving equipment or filing for government hand-outs.

          A+ for slipping in this criticism of the farm subsidy system.
        • by drsquare (530038)
          75% of the first-world economy is in the service sector. This tends to mean desk jobs.

          Cooks, waiters, shelf-stackers, cleaners, most the service industry jobs are not sat down.

          Many factory workers would be seated, too, on stools to assemble small items.

          No, most factory work is stood up.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Matthias777 (1033048)
          Could you get me a job at one of these factories where they buy everyone chairs? I, a number of my family members, and multiple friends/acquaintances all hold or have held jobs in the industrial sector, and it is very rare for anyone on the production floor to have the luxury of sitting down. If you work in a factory or plant of some kind and sit down for a significant portion of the day, it's because you're in management.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by operagost (62405)
        However! All humans sit.
        I have no buttocks, you insensitive clod!
    • by zCyl (14362)
      Does the vast majority of the global population really work in a sitting position, or is it just the vast majority that are participating in the "global economy"?

      The vast majority of people who can read news articles at work do. I.e., the audience.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by umbrellasd (876984)
      I'd say that a vast majority of us take things lying down, and no small number of us work that way, too! And on that note, I am happily reminded that, study or no, I do have one component that definitely works best straight up--lying down or not.
    • by neoform (551705)
      We should all do like Donald Rumsfeld and work standing up, then we can all be such hard workers just like him!
  • yep (Score:2, Informative)

    *kicks back*

    I have to say that this chair was the best investment I ever made... only about $100 (Canadian) at Walmart, but still. :-)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      *kicks back*

      I have to say that this chair was the best investment I ever made... only about $100 (Canadian) at Walmart, but still. :-)

      Now, replace your chair with mine. The one I was issued at work.

      I have to say that this chair was the best investment they ever made... only about $250 (US) at WWHHAAAAAAA!!!

      ....while the recline limit pin gives way. It's a spring loaded pin you pull out to set. The slightest forward motion SILENTLY returns the pin to the unlocked position. The next time I lean back, every

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        My chair at work is almost as bad. Worse, probably, in some ways; the pin sort of works its way out as I move around, so it's random when it will fall. And the chair skews to the right when I lean back.

        Personally I've always had a low-rider seating/typing style. It's not quite typing-correct (the hand part I mean) but since my hands are so huge it causes me literal pain to place my fingers on the home row, so I can't touch-type by the book anyway. In spite of that I get about 75WPM at 99% accuracy on a

  • Best for the back... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:19PM (#17021660) Journal
    But not necessarily for the task.

    In other words, can you please do a study confirming (to my employer, of course) that this 135 degree reclined position does not adversely affect my the bloodflow to the brain, attention span, ability to perform complex mental tasks, etc?

    From my anecdotal experience with video games, I can definitely say that my performance is much better when I am leaning forward than when I am reclining -- though this may also have something to do with distance from the monitor, etc.
    • by gt_mattex (1016103) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:27PM (#17021848)

      From my anecdotal experience with video games, I can definitely say that my performance is much better when I am leaning forward than when I am reclining -- though this may also have something to do with distance from the monitor, etc.

      I believe this would have something to do with leaning forward being a more 'aggressive' stance.

      • Makes a lot of sense. Better adrenergic response when leaning forward, as the adrenergic response is not needed near so much when 'safely' reclined... from a two-bit evolutionary analysis.

        Great sig, btw.
    • by cbreaker (561297)
      The problem is also that if your environment at work is not set up to accommodate your leaning back position (ie monitors way up high, etc) then your neck ends up bending forward and holding up the weight of your head so you can see your screens and anything else on the desk.

      It will end up giving you neck pain. Sitting fairly straight seems to be the best for taking burden off your neck. When you're standing, your neck doesn't often get tired.

    • The main reason you perform better when leaning forward is that the television or monitor fills more of your field of vision, allowing your brain to ignore the surrounding environment and pay more attention to the game. This is the same reason people lean forward during a conversation they're deeply involved in. You'll rarely see blind people do this.

      Eyesight can also play a role, but I think that's far more obvious than the reason above.

      The other reason that's applicable to computer games and not console
    • Agreed. When I started reading this, I was leaning back in my chair, probably at about a 135 degree angle. As soon as I was interested, I leaned forward past 90 degrees. If I'm playing a game, I find that if it's boring or easy I lean back, but for a more challenging fight or race or whatever I'll lean forward, perhaps even lifting the back legs of my chair off the ground. It could be that assuming a more relaxed position is... relaxing. And of course, while relaxing is good for your health it is rarel
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LurkerXXX (667952)
        As someone who has spent considerable time behind a real wheel (not a game) racing, let me say that you can be plenty attentive and not at all relaxed while your back is reclined. My drivers seats were never quite at 135 degrees, but they were well past 90.

        I agree you need a bigger monitor. Subconsciously you might be trying to get closer to the action going on in your monitor. When the scene is wrapped around you in real windows, there isn't the same desire to scoot the head forward.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by EchoD (1031614)
        I've found the same thing. I try to sit back in my chair and recline a little because, at the end of the day, my back aches less. I also find myself leaning forwards when I'm getting into a game, but I try to force myself to lean back and relax a little. If I'm comfortable, I can enjoy the game longer, relax more quickly when I lay down, and fall asleep faster.
    • Yes, I too always did better sitting close to the screen while playing Duck Hunt...
    • In other words, can you please do a study confirming (to my employer, of course) that this 135 degree reclined position does not adversely affect my the bloodflow to the brain, attention span, ability to perform complex mental tasks, etc?

      F-16 fighter seats are in a permanent reclining position. I think the Air Force is happy with the performance in the listed categories.
  • WOOT! (Score:5, Funny)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@ g m a i l . c om> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:21PM (#17021686) Journal
    To everyone who has ever criticized my working posture: IN YOUR FACE BITCHES!!!

    I now return you to your regularly scheduled slouching.
  • My doctor is an armchair anthropologist and is more than happy to ramble on about how the human musculatory, skeletal, and even pulmonary systems are designed for standing and walking, not for sitting. I'm guessing our fat butts are evolutionary from millennia of presiding over lesser beings from a big throne (the people on my TV are so small...).

    Maybe if they made floors all soft and squishy like our sofas, we'd be happier standing? Or better, make computer interfaces use more body parts - standing forev
    • by TeknoHog (164938)
      My doctor is an armchair anthropologist and is more than happy to ramble on about how the human musculatory, skeletal, and even pulmonary systems are designed for standing and walking, not for sitting.
      Then shouldn't he be a standing anthropologist?
  • The ergonomic and safety group here at the company I work for has been saying this for years, mainly for back safety. Keep your legs out and lean back a bit. It eases pressure on your spine.
  • Anyone who has ever watched Star Trek:TNG knows that the two people at the helm, the ones doing the work, sit in a reclined position while those giving the orders sit in an upright position. Behind them are those that have to stand all day because they didn't have enough room to put in extra seats on the new, improved and larger, Enterprise compared to the original ship.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "'We were not created to sit down for long hours, but somehow modern life requires the vast majority of the global population to work in a seated position,' Dr. Bashir said. 'This made our search for the optimal sitting position all the more important.'"

      And anybody who has watched DS9 knows that Dr. Bashir isn't HUMAN- he's a genetic augment.
  • by greymond (539980) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:26PM (#17021830) Homepage Journal
    No seriously, that's what I was told, kinda.

    My work had some ergonomics person come in and monitor us for a few minutes and ask us questions about our chairs and desks. Apparently someone at my work must have developed some sort of carpal tunnel or something because in the 6 years I've been here this was the first time I was ever asked about how I liked my desk or chair. Anyway I don't actually sit in my chair, I tend to curl up into it, and essentially I sit on one leg at a time and lean to the left or right depending on which leg is under me. I also am a big fan of occasionally placing both feet up on the APC under the desk and leaning from side to side.

    In addition to this I don't stay in any one position very long, but rather am constantly shifting or moving from time to time. The lady interviewing me told me that this was actually good and that only people who confine themselves to one given position for a very long time (read entire work day) are the ones who generally have trouble or develop problems with their joints.

    So slither and fidget in your chair, it's good for you.
  • Stokke and other kneeling chairs (see http://www.backinaction.co.uk/kneeling [backinaction.co.uk]) got it right then and really knew what they were doing. I have tried a chair like that myself for a while when I did some data entry while at the university. It did feel a bit weird first but you felt that 'tensed-tired-back' after sitting on them.

    The negative side? They cost to much I think.
    • by greg1104 (461138) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:15PM (#17022916) Homepage
      Kneeling in a chair pushes much of your body's weight onto your knees and hips. They'll breakdown under the strain just as badly as your spine will over time. I used to like that type of design when I was a kid; after using a kneeling chair for a year in my early 30's, I found my hips so inflammed from it that I still have trouble walking, quite some time later.

      What you want to do is spread your weight over as large a surface area as possible in order to minimize the strain on any one part, which means a chair that leans backward you're resting against. These latest suggestions seems similar to the "Zero Gravity" chairs that claim they're based on NASA research on reducing pressure on the spine (I'd love to find a real citation for that rather than just sales copy). I purchased a cheap recliner based on that type of design from General Superstore [generalsuperstore.com] that I've been happy with. At the office, I just lean my chair back; after a full day of working my back and hips feel dramatically better in that position than they ever did when I was sitting up straight.

      While I'm babbling on this topic, I'd also suggest those trying to improve their back health look at the recommendations from Dr. Bookspan [drbookspan.com] I've become a real fan of some of the exercises she recommends there, and much of the most useful information from her is free on the web site.
  • It works best if you put half your palm down your pants, just under the belt, like this guy [bundyology.com]...
  • by Sentry21 (8183) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:31PM (#17021956) Journal
    So basically what this study is saying is that by leaning back, putting my feet up on my computer, and moving my keyboard to my lap, I'm not only the most laid-back free-thinking rebel at the office, I'm also the most health-conscious? My boss will be glad to hear it!
  • by jyuter (48936) <jyuter AT yu DOT edu> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:32PM (#17021978) Homepage Journal
    There was a DS9 episode where Odo was a solid [memory-alpha.org] and had back problems from sitting too stiffly. Maybe the Doctors Bashir should consult with each other more often.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LoadStar (532607)
      Likewise, if you look at the first season "Conn" and "Ops" seats on the Enterprise-D on The Next Generation, they were reclined at what I'd guestimate was a 130-140 degree angle... and much of the time, the cast was said to fall asleep in those chairs, proving how comfortable that seated position was. Guess they knew something too.
  • by scheming daemons (101928) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:32PM (#17021980)
    I work for a Navy contractor. Admiral Hyman Rickover, the founder of the "nuclear navy", was your typical hard-ass type-A personality.

    In his office he had two inches chopped off of the front two legs of his "guest" chairs, which forced guests in his office to be leaning forward. This put them in an uncomfortable position and gave him a subliminal "upper hand" over his guests.

    Adm. Rickover knew this 50 years ago. This study is nothing but a confirmation of common sense.

    • It's likely that 50 years ago (during the cold war) there weren't many Soviet admirals walzting around the Nautilus. So we can assume he was doing this to fellow officers only.

      That said, what an ass.
      • yes.... many in the Navy considered him "an ass".... or worse. But they were all intimidated by him and he was able to have complete autonomy in running the AEC (Atomic Energy Commission) because of it.

        the thing with the chair legs was just another example of his intimidation techniques. ;-)

  • Welcome to the 70's (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SpeedBump0619 (324581) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:43PM (#17022226)
    The summary is a little misleading. The article actually doesn't say anything about reclining, it is talking about a lap to abdomen angle greater than 90 degrees, with the optimal angle being about 135 degrees. This isn't a new finding, though perhaps this is the first research backing it up. People have been making kneeling chairs for a long time now. I had one when I was in high school.

    Since I have never found a kneeling chair that doesn't suck I tend to sit on the edge of my chair with my knees down, roughly approximating the "optimal" 135 degree angle. Rough on the chair, but over the long haul it makes my back happier.
    • by Peyna (14792)
      it is talking about a lap to abdomen angle greater than 90 degrees, with the optimal angle being about 135 degrees

      So the easiest way to achieve this and still be able to work is to raise your seat height a little bit. Of course, then your keyboard might be too low and you'll be bending your wrists backwards.
    • The article actually doesn't say anything about reclining

      No, the article specifically describes the posture as reclining. FTFA:
      The patients assumed ... a "relaxed" position where the patient reclines backward 135 degrees while the feet remain on the floor.

      You could achieve the 135 degree angle with a kneel-chair, but that's not what these researchers studied, so their conclusion can't necessarily be extended to kneel-chairs.
      • You're right. *sigh* Back to reading comprehension 101 for me. In any case I suspect that the posture aspect (feasible at work) has more to do with reduced back pain than the reclining (not feasible at work), but the research has compounded the study of posture and back support in such a way that no really useful conclusion can be drawn about either aspect separately. Oh well...maybe next time.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      The entire article is misleading with regards to 135 degrees being optimum. They only tested 3 positions: hunched forward, straight up (90 degrees), and reclining (135 degrees). Not surprisingly, 135 degrees was better than the other two. But it's hardly optimum. They didn't test 95 degrees, 100 degrees, 130 degrees, etc., to find a true optimum. That's a study I'd like to see. For the geometrically challenged, such as myself, the 135-degree thigh-back angle they mention can be more simply explained a
  • Main bullet from TFA:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2475021, 00.html [timesonline.co.uk]
    * "back pain is part of human nature"

    This is crap. Most "human nature" is a result of our activities and culture (long term), not the cause. The real nature of people is very simple: have the good feelings and avoid the bad ones. That is it. Most everything else about how we act is learned.

    We need to rethink this idea that humans have evolved to be ABLE to sit in a cubicle for 8 hours a day, 200 days a year and function. The
    • We need to rethink this idea that humans have evolved to be ABLE to sit in a cubicle for 8 hours a day, 200 days a year and function. They didn't.

      More basic than that -- they can't. Evolution usually takes, oh, several million years?
      • by drDugan (219551) *
        exactly. during those several million years of human evolution, mostly there were no cubicles and no office chairs. what humans are doing today is not how we evolved. this is causing our pain.

        I was not implying that we should (or could) evolve to fit the cubicle chairs, but that we should change what we do to better fit the bodies humans have evolved.

         
    • 52*2=104 Weekends
      365-104=261 Work Days
      261-200=61 Vacation Days

      I want your job, my back would definitely feel better :P
  • I'm wondering about the age of the subjects of this experiment, and whether that might have affected the results. When I was younger (in my thirties, say), I would probably have said that the conclusion of the study was obvious. Now I'm in my fifties, and I get quite uncomfortable if I have to sit in a typical "reclined" position for more than a few minutes; I much prefer a straight-backed chair. (There are some reclining seats that I'm comfortable in, but not many.)

    I do have some arthritis in my lower bac

    • Well now we know why youngin's slouch and geezers yell "Sit up straight!"

      The easiest way, of course, is to use reverse psychology. Get on my lawn!
  • by gusmao (712388) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:53PM (#17022446)
    Sitting in a angle smaller than 90 degrees -> bad
    Sitting upright -> better
    Sitting in 135 degrees -> healthy
    Sitting in 180 degrees -> wow, that feels great!

    So basically they've found out that the more you incline backward the less you put preassure on your body. Very impressive. Too bad we can't lay down and work at the same time.

  • by c0nst (655115) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:01PM (#17022628)
    .. this 135 posture is so relaxing. I cn typ relly well.z.z.zzzzzzz
  • (Kia) first you got to put your neck into, come on... o wait...

    I find that when leaning back my neck gets sore only after a few hours, perhaps if your monitor was hung from the ceiling 135 would be good, but for a long period of time I think you are going to have just as many neck problems as back problems.
  • Wait (Score:4, Funny)

    by nizo (81281) * on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:11PM (#17022838) Homepage Journal
    What about hanging upside down? If only they had found hanging upside down to be the healthiest non-standing posture, we could look forward to a wide array of new chair/desk/computer arrangements. And don't even get me started on how happy many big corps would be if they could hang employees from the ceiling, doubling the number of people they can cubicalize in a given space.
  • by gilgongo (57446) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:13PM (#17022874) Homepage Journal
    If this news comes too late for you and you are already feeling the effects of your lower back being gradually compacted to the point where even standing up for much longer than 10mins begins to ache, then act now to reverse the effects!

    - Avoid sitting. Stand up and walk around every half hour. More often if possible.

    - When you are sitting, try to lean back like TFA says.

    - Every night, before you go to bed, decompress your lower spine: lie on your back and put a few books (about 4-5 inches high) beneath your coccyx. NOT the small of you back - I'm talking about the top of your butt-crack: there is a flat area of bone there, put the pile of books there and lie out flat with your arms over your head for a few minutes. If it hurts - then it's doing some good. If you feel a "crack" then even better: that's some tension coming out.

    - Turn over and do the "cobra" position. Plant your hands on the floor and jam your hips down to the ground so that your spine bends backwards in a massive curve. Keep this position (and keep your head and neck up straight) for a few minutes at a time.

    - If you're not fit, consider also doing some stomach curls (Google 'em) and lower back strengthening routines. The better your musculature is around there, the better those muscles can support your spine and prevent injury by sudden movement. Movement which, if your lower spine is compressed by lots of sitting, will be more damaging.

    There is it. Your 5-mins per day spinal insurance policy.

    Disclaimer: I am not a doctor - I'm (former) back pain sufferer that got rid of the pain by doing the above.

  • So if 90 degree is worst, 90 degree is medium, 135 degree is better, 180 degree should be best.

    I think my work place should let me work lying down completely, for my health....
  • Too bad the article doesn't mention what the researchers plan to investigate next. An angle of 135 degrees between torso and thighs puts you halfway to lying down flat on your back. I'd be interested in learning whether similar benefits can be gained by reclining to just 100 degrees, or 105, or maybe 110.

    Old-school management types might more readily accept a slightly reclined posture than one that takes your torso 45 degrees away from the vertical.

  • From TFA:

    Disk movement was most pronounced with a 90-degree upright sitting posture.

    An "upright 90-degree sitting posture" usually isn't. Try sitting in a 90 position, without curving your lower back. Chances are you can't do it. If you can, you're either still young and flexible, or you've been doing yoga for a while.

    No wonder the study concluded that sitting up straight isn't good for your back. The participants probably couldn't even do it properly.

  • by MrCopilot (871878) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:48PM (#17023522) Homepage Journal
    Laying Down.

    On knees under my desk

    My secretary says both work great for her.

  • I've been a recliner for as long as I can remember. Doesn't matter where or why I'm sitting; I always sit with a recline. Even on chairs with a fixed back, I slide my pelvis forward so that I can recline. I've tried to sit up straight, and I have great standing posture, but my body always works back to the recline.

    I've been coding for almost a decade, and I'm the only person I know without back problems. I guess my body knows better than I do.
  • Support... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sir Holo (531007) * on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:33PM (#17024386)
    135 degrees is a great trunk-leg angle, but only if your weight is supported down to your bottom. Slouching down to 135 deg in a "regular" 90 deg chair will buy you some expensive back surgery in your mid 30's.

    Trust me, I know.
  • by sinistre (59027) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:41PM (#17025696) Homepage
    1. The intervertebral disc is NOT the only thing that can cause back pain. Slouching may unload the intervertebral disc but it will put strain on other structures.

    2. Intervertebral discs NEED load too - it's actually healthy for the disc. So unloading it all day will make it weaker and could actually lead to a disc prolapse.

    3. One study recently showed that it was actually beneficial for your discs if you were overweight! However if you do have a degenerated disc - it becomes more a part of the problem. Still the rest of your discs will need to be loaded.

    4. Another study that tried to identify risk factors for long term disability in workers found that x-rays and MRI's gave little value - one factor that actually did prove to be a risk was if the worker was miserable at work.

    Which brings me to my point; Keep moving. No one posture is good or bad for your back - they all become bad if you sustain them for too long. The worst thing a back patient can do is to stop using their backs. I always encourage my patients (I'm a physical therapist with a masters in manual therapy) to keep moving!
  • Subject (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Legion303 (97901) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @11:18PM (#17028676) Homepage
    TFA is broken at the moment, but I'm willing to bet the reclined position is only "best" compared to the others in the study. I'm also willing to bet the best thing for your back is a variety of seated positions to help flex your spine and muscles, and not one stationary position for hours at a time.

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.

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