Sitting straight is bad for the back

I remember the days at Infy when people especially used to get the chairs with straight back so that they can sit at 90 degrees while staring at their PCs. Some people used to go to extent of even customizing those chairs. People went for such chairs because they already suffered from back problems. One of my college mates was one of them. I used to feel better on the other usual chairs which weren’t specifically made for right-angled sitting positions and I never had any back or that kind of problems. Therefore, I used to wonder that even getting such chairs, their problem used to get worse instead of relieving them. But it seems that I got the reason…


According to the recent survey reported in an online news journal,


The stick-straight posture is bad for your back. The best posture is actually a 135-degree angle, which would mean one would sit at their desk leaning backwards slightly. This position takes the pressure off the spinal disks in the lower back.

Total 22 patients were studied for this survey. According to study, sitting straight puts extra pressure on your spine and hence causes the disks to relocate more than the relaxed position i.e. 135 degrees. I am surprised that the posture we and even our parents used to think as the best posture isn’t actually the right posture.

Here is the excerpt from article –



Aching back? Don’t sit up straight, study says


A new study is making it easier to ignore your mother’s sage advice on sitting up straight.


In fact, the stick-straight posture is bad for your back, researchers say.


The best posture is actually a 135-degree angle, which would mean one would sit at their desk leaning backwards slightly, according to new research presented Monday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.


This position takes the pressure off the spinal disks in the lower back, researchers say.


“A 135-degree body-thigh sitting posture was demonstrated to be the best biomechanical sitting position, as opposed to a 90-degree posture, which most people consider normal,” said Waseem Amir Bashir, author and clinical fellow in the Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging at the University of Alberta Hospital.


“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,” he said in a written statement.


Researchers used a positional MRI scanner to collect images from 22 healthy volunteers with no history of back pain or surgery.


The 22 patients studied at Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen, Scotland assumed three different sitting positions.


One included a slouching posture in which the body is hunched forward; while the second was an upright 90-degree sitting position; and the third was the relaxed position where the patient reclined backward 135 degrees while the feet remained on the floor.


The researchers used the MRI images to determine which sitting position put the least stress on the back.


Spinal disk movement occurs when weight-bearing strain is placed on the spine, causing the internal disk material to misalign.

“You can see the disc has gone backwards,” said Bashir as he showed an MRI image of a patient’s back. “If you stand up after long periods (of sitting), and you’ve got weak back muscles, you can potentially pop the disc out.”

Disk movement was most pronounced with a 90-degree upright sitting posture but it was least pronounced with the 135-degree position, indicating that less strain is placed on the spinal disks and associated muscles and tendons in this position.


“Employers could also reduce problems by providing their staff with more appropriate seating, thereby saving on the cost of lost work hours.”


But one Canadian specialist suggested a far more simple solution: less sitting and more movement.


“The most practical solution is to get people to move,” said Prof. Jack Callaghan of the University of Waterloo in Ontario.

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