The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

November 28, 2006

Are you a candidate for Blogger's Back?

Canadian and Scottish health researchers with nothing else to do have discovered the latest craze to help whiny Web Wackos avoid a condition I am calling Blogger's Back.
Basically, it amounts to doing this while you're keyboarding...

Essentially, need to take up meditative Yoga or become a professional contortionist.

And, contrary to the long-held belief by your mother and other such medical experts, the old "sit up straight at 90 degrees or you'll become the Hunchback of Notre Dame" warning is not valid.

No, what these back specialists are recommending now is that while blogging (or while doing anything else that requires sitting), that your back actually be at 135 degrees, which I believe could tear some of my stomach muscles.

This is of particular interest to me (and probably only to me) because among my many surgeries, I have had a disc removed from my lower back, a sports injury that was the result of another sports injury.

I became familiar with such terms as lordosis (the kind of curve you have in your back) and other fancy names I can't remember. So I can vouch that you shouldn't slouch.

Here's an edited version of today's story...

By using a new form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Scottish and Canadian researchers have been able to show that sitting in an upright position places unnecessary strain on the back.

Sitting in this posture for hours at a time can lead to chronic back pain, say the researchers.

Lead author Dr. Waseem Amir Bashir, of the Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging at the University of Alberta Hospital in Canada, says "sitting in a sound anatomic position is essential, since the strain put on the spine and its associated ligaments over time can lead to pain, deformity and chronic illness".

The researchers say the best position in which to sit at your desk is leaning slightly back, at about 135 degrees, as opposed to a 90-degree posture, which most people consider normal.

Back pain is the most common cause of work-related disability in much of the developed world and is a leading cause of job-related absenteeism.

Dr. Bashir says man was not created to sit down for long hours, but somehow modern life requires the vast majority of the global population to do so and the search for the best sitting position was all the more important. (Hello, Blogworld!!!)

The patients were asked to adopt three different sitting positions: a slouching position, in which the body is hunched forward (e.g., hunched over a desk or slouched over in front of a video game console); an upright 90-degree sitting position; and a "relaxed" position where the patient reclines backward 135 degrees while the feet remain on the floor.

Measurements were taken of spinal angles and spinal disc height and movement across the different positions. Spinal disc movement occurs when weight-bearing strain is placed on the spine, causing the internal disk material to misalign.

The team saw that disc movement was most pronounced with a 90-degree upright sitting posture and was least pronounced with the 135-degree posture. The "slouch" position revealed a reduction in spinal disc height, signifying a high rate of wear and tear.

They advise patients to ward off future back problems by correcting their sitting posture and finding a chair that allows them to sit in an optimal position of 135 degrees.

And here, if only to wake you up with visual images, are a bunch of left-over neat illustrations I pulled off the Web...