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Patient exercises

Healthy sitting advice

Remember there is no such thing as only one correct sitting position - it is good to move and the optimal position can be different for each individual! We recommend you start with the following steps:

  • Sit on your office chair and make sure both your feet are resting comfortably on the floor and your thighs are fully supported. Raise or lower your chair to do this. If you are small you may need to place your feet on a footrest. It is often more comfortable to adjust the seat so that your hips are slightly higher than your knees.
  • Make sure you are sitting right back in the chair and the seat edge finishes approximately an inch behind your knee crease. Slide the seat forward or back to make sure the seat edge is in the correct place.
  • Then roll forward a little from your pelvis lifting your tailbone upwards so that your low back curves forwards and you feel your weight roll onto your sitting bones. Your back should not be straight but gently curved in an 'S' shape.
  • The ideal sitting position for the low back is somewhere in mid-range, allowing freedom of movement with balanced activity of the deep muscles of the low back and abdominals. You may not feel them working as the activity is subtle. Try placing your index fingers just inside your hip bone at the front. Tilt your pelvis forward and back. Do you feel the muscles tighten as you tilt forward?
  • Slide the back of your chair up or down so that you can support yourself in this position, you should find that the deepest part of the support curve will be just above your pelvis, at the base of your low back. You may find it helpful to tip your seat forward a little so that your hips are slightly higher than your knees. The chair should support your natural curve not push you into it. Place your fingertips on the muscles either side of the spine. Are they relaxed? They should be.

Now you have corrected your low back position you will find it much easier to adjust your middle back and neck position.

  • Lift your breastbone upward to stretch out your upper back and relax your shoulder blades down your back. If your pelvis is in the correct position this should be easy. Be careful that you don't elevate your shoulders or overextend through the middle of the spine whilst doing this.
  • Elongate the back of your neck by imagining your head is being drawn upwards by a piece of string attached to the crown so your chin slightly drops as if you were gently nodding. Your head will then be in a more balanced position and it will be easier for you to move your neck.
  • Then make sure you are breathing correctly. This is really important; learning how to use the lower lungs correctly can prevent the build up of tension in the upper back, shoulders and even arms. Start by placing your hands across your lower ribs and keeping your upper chest relaxed; gently breathe into your hands and upper stomach region. Keep your breathing even and relaxed and try to take in a normal volume of air.
Once you are in position your body should feel 'centred'.

Optimal Posture with 'S' curve


If you use a keyboard:

  • Keep your wrists straight and not bent up or down or to the side
  • Keep elbows relaxed by your side bent to approximately 90 degrees
  • Avoid hammering the keys
  • Only use a wrist support between typing

If you use a mouse:

  • Keep your wrists straight and not bent up or down or to the side
  • Keep it close
  • Hands off when not using it!
  • Don't squeeze the mouse
  • Use a mouse mat for better contact
  • Remember the mouse can be used on the other side of the keyboard
  • Avoid double clicking, use the return key instead of the second click

If you use a copyholder:

  • Place the copyholder so that it is at the same height above the desktop as the centre of the screen
  • If you touch type and spend more time looking at the copyholder then place this directly in front of you

If you use a telephone:

  • Avoid straining your neck to the side or into a twisted position
  • Never cradle the telephone in between your neck and shoulders
  • If you use the phone for long periods consider using a headset

If you are writing:

  • Keep the wrist straight, not bent sideways on the table
  • Move your whole arm across the paper rather than bending the wrist
  • Avoid pressing too hard or gripping the pen too firmly
  • Limit the time you spend writing

Try to be aware of increased muscle tension or joint pain and act quickly to rectify it. Remember to get up and move, try to get up and stretch every 20 minutes or so. People who change their positions and avoid prolonged sitting have a lower incidence of back pain. If you sit correctly in a well-designed chair intra-discal pressure can even be lower than when standing.

Please contact us to book an appointment or for more information on any of the services available at our clinic in Kensington.

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Areas covered

Our services cover the following locations (if your location is not listed please don't hesistate to get in touch and ask us if we can help you):

Kensington - W8 - W14 - SW7 - Notting Hill - W11 - W2 - W10 - Chelsea - SW10 - Knightsbridge SW1 - SW3 - Fulham - W6 - Hammersmith - W6 - W12 - Hyde Park and Holland Park, Paddington, Bayswater, Marylebone W1, W2

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