Posture Part 3: Optimizing Sitting | Modern Manual Therapy Blog

Posture Part 3: Optimizing Sitting

Finally concluding the Posture Series with most likely the most important of all, sitting!

Parts I and II here for lying and standing, respectively.

Poor sitting posture may lead to conditions like

  • shoulder impingement
  • neck pain and headaches
  • lower back pain
  • TMD or jaw and facial pain
Here are some simple ways to correct sitting posture

1) Using the McKenzie Lumbar Roll
  • Improving the inward curvature or lordosis in your lumbar spine straightens out the mid back, elevates your sternum and helps bring the scapula in a down and back, or set position
  • pull your shoulders down and back, then relax about 10%
    • this relaxes your upper traps and helps bring the head and neck over the shoulders
  • this position takes pressure off of 
    • lower back muscles, joints, and discs
    • mid back shoulder blade and spinal muscles and joints
    • upper traps, often reducing tender points that may refer to the head/neck
  • You still may require a slight chin tuck to bring the head back over the neck and shoulders for optimal static posture
  • this is the preferred static posture because it is passive, not using muscles directly to hold yourself upright, which most cannot do without a lot of practice

2) Unsupported Static Sitting
  • sit on the end of your chair
  • have one leg forward and the other leg back
  • hinge at your hips and accept weight on the front leg, while keeping your sternum upright
  • change legs every 5-10 minutes
3) Do not sit statically for more than 20-30 minutes
  • no pain does not mean no problem
  • get up and perform backward bends at your lower back and chin tucks at your neck
  • break up prolonged sitting with any activity, like getting a glass of water
  • alternate between positions 1 and 2 or supported and unsupported
You may do position 1 for the longest because it is supported, but you should still not sit for long periods to avoid stress and strain on various structures in your body.


  1. An additional thing you could add in is bumping up the height of your screen to bring yourself more into a neutral neck position. The back tends to follow the eyes so bump the eyes up and the back will sort itself!

  2. That's true, unfortunately nowadays, most use laptops, like my blogging station at home!

  3. I'm going to have to go with Alex here, this could be a key missing link in this post. I do appreciate Erson bringing the issue to the forefront though, a very important topic indeed.

    If you measure the angle from the mid screen from your eyes, it's approximately 45 degrees. That requires substantial workload for the eye muscles, which will end in rapid fatigue as would any other muscle. In attempt to counter that fatigue, spinal flexion will likely follow negating the previous postural adjustments. There are laptop stands available to raise up the laptop if the table isn't high enough, which is the case in this image. A quick pitstop at Starbucks is one thing, but 8 hours per day x 5 days per week, this could be disastrous for ones health.