Employee wellness is a big deal and for good reason. The healthier employees are, the happier, and more productive, they are. Many employers are, rightly, improving their health insurance offerings and implementing wellness programs of their own. But the fact remains that an employee’s job itself may be one of the biggest long-term obstacles to their overall good health, because poor posture as they work is damaging it on a daily basis.
Most office employees spend hours and hours a day sitting at their desk. As they sit they tend to slump, especially if they are working on a computer. Poor posture is one of the most common causes of back and neck pain. Which is a big problem. According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain accounts for over 264 million lost workdays in one year—that’s two work days for every full-time worker in the country.
Why is sitting so hard on the body? When you sit for long periods of time, your body rounds forward and puts an enormous strain on the spine and its supporting tendons, ligaments, muscles, and fascia. The muscles in the back and back of the neck fight against gravity to pull you upright thus becoming sore, tired and knotty.
The muscles in the front (chest, front of shoulders and front of neck) become shortened and tight. This poor posture also affects breathing by compressing the diaphragm and encouraging excessive breathing from the shoulder and neck areas.
As an employer though, you can’t control the way people in your office sit. But you can encourage them to try to improve their posture. Providing them with ergonomic furniture is a good start, but you can also let them in on a technique chiropractors have been using for years to help people learn to sit better; Bruegger’s position.
The Bruegger’s Position Routine
The Bruegger’s position is a small exercise designed to be performed at a desk. The exercise is named after its developer, Alois Brugger, a Swiss neurologist whose work focuses on repetitive strain injuries
Ideally, according to experts, should be done for 10 seconds every 20 minutes. It can be incorporated into sit to stand, walking, and lifting. Over time you should experience the sensation of sitting and standing straighter and more naturally. When this occurs, better posture should become almost second nature.
How It’s Done
The Bruegger’s position exercise promotes stability and relaxes tight muscles that may tighten due to postural stress. Here’s how it’s done:
1. Sit with your buttocks at the edge of a chair.
2. Spread your legs apart slightly.
3. Turn your toes out slightly.
4. Rest your weight on your legs/feet & relax your abdominal muscles.
5. Tilt your pelvis forward (ie. arch your lower back) while lifting your chest up
6. rotate your arms outward while turning your palms up.
7. Hold your head high in the air, with a slight arch in the neck.
8. Take a deep breath in, then a deep breath out. Relax
Need a visual? This video demonstrates the technique very well:
Easy right? Now take what you’ve learned and share it with your employees, their poor aching backs will thank you for it!