I took a brief look around my office today and it hit me in the face: many of my colleagues sat in ways their mothers would not be proud of.
Let’s just say, they looked like slobs. One colleague was even leaning so far back it looked like he was entering light-speed.
Can’t blame us though, we spend about 8 hours a day every day, hunched in front of our computer screens, and as modern office workers, we’re not alone. We’d likely have developed ways of sitting that are comfortable to us, but may not be good in the long term.
But that’s all conjecture, which is why I got an expert on my side. I snapped some shots of my colleagues and sent the pictures to Dr Dansen Wong, a chiropractor and owner of Bangsar Chiropractic located in Jalan Bangkung, Bangsar.
Dr Dansen Wong has practised chiropractic for more than 7 years now.
The big question? I wanted to know what are the issues that we may have in the future if we continued treating our bodies like floppy bean bags, and also, a quick “help us, what can we do better?”.
Disclaimer: Dr Dansen Wong and his clinic are not affiliated with any of the products or brands listed below. He is merely acting as an advisor to tell us about our seating positions and what are the negative effects.
The Sitting Positions We Adopt
1. The Intense Worker
Dr Dansen’s Thoughts: The forward head posture puts extra strain on the cervical spine and the upper back, causing it to be fatigued faster than normal.
When the head is not square above the shoulders, abnormal leverage is placed on the cervical spine, leading to misalignment, damaged muscles and ligaments.
2. The Megalax
Dr Dansen’s Thoughts: Sitting at the edge of the seat while leaning back puts unnecessary strain and pressure on the tailbone. Weight of the body should not be borne by the tailbone but instead by the sitting bones of the pelvis which is thicker and stronger.
Sitting with your legs stretched puts a lot of stress on the low back and pelvis bones, leading to the low back and pelvic pain.
3. The Office Thinker
Dr Dansen’s Thoughts: Leaning to a side will cause strain on the entire spine, twisting towards one direction. Folding your knees back behind the chair will also put a lot of strain on the knee and hips, leading to knee and hip pain.
Leaning on the arm may cut off nerve and blood circulation, leading to numbness, pain and weakness in the affected arm.
4. The Ultimate Comf
Dr Dansen’s Thoughts: Folding both legs towards one side causes a lot of rotational force on the hips, pelvis and lower back spine.
This will cause misalignment not only in the lower half of the body but also in the upper back, neck and shoulders. Arms and wrist are not aligned and that increases strain on the wrist joints and fingers, causing muscle fatigue and pain to set in.
Will also lead to repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel, golfers elbow or tennis elbow.
5. The Working Sukhasana
Dr Dansen’s Thoughts: Folding both legs up onto the chair for prolonged periods will cause extra strain on the pelvis, hips and the lower back, especially if you have tight hamstrings (which most people do).
Leaning forward will also put pressure on the spine. With the arms reaching forward, it could cause the shoulders to round forward, causing shoulder pain, hunchback, neck pain and numbness in the arms and hands.
Listen To The Sifu
Dr Dansen then chimed in and gave a few suggestions that we should follow:
- Wrist: Should be in line with the forearm, not bent upwards or downwards
- Elbow: Forearm and arm angle should be close to 90 degrees, straightening it to 110 degrees is alright
- Shoulder: In a resting position, not shrugged or hunched
- Neck: Head should be balanced on the spinal column, not tilted nor rotated
- Back: The spine naturally assumes an S-shaped curve when viewed from the side
- Thighs: Parallel to the floor
- Keyboard: Directly in front of you, with 4 to 6 inches of space between the edge of the keyboard and the desk so the wrist will have room to rest when you type
- Monitor: Top of the monitor should be eye level
- Regular breaks: Even with perfect postures, you should take a break for 30 seconds every 30 minutes
- Invest in ergonomic equipment: A chair with adjustable height and lumbar support, an adjustable laptop stand, external keyboard and mouse if you are a laptop user, and a footstool if your feet are dangling
With our limited equipment, this was the “best” attempt we could have for a perfect posture. However, Dr Dansen did say that the model could sit closer to the table and utilise a higher chair. This does mean having an adjustable chair and monitor height is crucial for improved posture.
What Else Can We Do?
After a long day of sitting around at work, we will want a way to relax and destress our body. This is where a brand like Ogawa comes in. They have products that are primed for relaxation and enjoyment.
Disclaimer: The Ogawa Luxe Amour Sofa is not going to do what a chiropractor or physiotherapist does, nor will it solve all your muscle issues if you have an underlying problem. Ogawa makes products to ease relaxation and for enjoyment, but the chair will not fix or heal your issues.
But, what does the Ogawa Luxe Amour Sofa do to achieve that claim? Well, it has a host of features that could help you relax and be comfortable in.
1. Hitting It Where It Feels Good
Our calves are usually one of the sorest parts of our legs. When you’re sitting down for too long, especially in a cramped position, your legs will turn to jelly when you try to stand up. Ill-fitting shoes or high heels could even be the cause of it.
The ‘Frequency Tapping’ feature of the sofa will gently tap on the back of your thighs, all the way down to your calves.
2. Heat-enabled Air Bags
The airbags on the sides of the sofa will expand and provide heat to the waist, thighs and legs. Heat therapy is said to decrease joint stiffness and reduce muscles spasms. When using the chair, it feels like your lower body is being pushed around by gentle bullies.
3. Be As Intense As You Want It
Unlike some massage chairs, this sofa allows you to choose the intensity you want to be massaged for. There are three levels to choose from: Green, Blue and Red. The levels are low, medium and high respectively.
4. Cradle You Like A Baby
You can also trigger swing mode on the sofa. Once activated, the sofa will emulate a slow cradling motion, rocking you back and forth. Everyone wants to be cradled every now and then.
5. Single Button Activation
Hitting the “Mode” button will automatically toggle between a few preset modes. If you wish, you can also select the massage mode that you want the sofa to focus on.
You can toggle between a “Combination Massage Technique” where you choose between kneading, tapping or rolling massages, or an “Auto Massage Program Selection” where it will automatically massage either your upper body, lower body or full body.
“Prevention is better than cure” is a saying that can be heard echoing for years and it still rings true. If we just practised better posture when we are sitting, many issues can be avoided and you would not need to spend boatloads of money on fixing said issues. It also doesn’t hurt to be pampered by a massage sofa though.
- You can check out the Ogawa Luxe Amour Massage Sofa here. The sofa comes in two colours of Blue and Pink.
- Together with Shopee, Ogawa is having a promotional sale for the Ogawa Luxe Amour Massage Sofa. You can purchase it for RM3,299 now (N.P. RM6,999).
- For the month of October, you can collect vouchers on Shopee for further discounts.
- This deal is only exclusive for Shopee and the promotional price is subject to change.