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Best Sitting Posture Is Not Straight Up 291

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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  • yep (Score:2, Informative)

    by corychristison ( 951993 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:18PM (#17021630)
    *kicks back*

    I have to say that this chair was the best investment I ever made... only about $100 (Canadian) at Walmart, but still. :-)
  • by greg1104 ( 461138 ) <> 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 [] 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 [] 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.
  • Re:Vast majority? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Matthias777 ( 1033048 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:07PM (#17023896)
    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.
  • 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!
  • by AHumbleOpinion ( 546848 ) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @02:32AM (#17029854) Homepage
    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.

Forty two.