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Posture and Occupational Health

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Industrial & Organisational : Introduction : Personnel : Organizational psychology : Occupations: Work environment: Index : Outline


Posture and Occupational HealthEdit

Studies have shown that drivers of trucks and public transport vehicles are at a greater risk of lower back and neck pain syndromes as well as other musculoskeletal disorders than clerical workers, partly because of their poor sitting posture and lack of breaks. While clerical workers who use a computer for extended periods are at greater risk of upper extremity and neck pain, especially on the side the mouse is used. Further studies have implicated poor sitting posture in the development and perpetuation of neck pain syndromes. While sitting for long periods without interruption with a poor posture has been shown to cause postural backache.

Poor posture results from certain muscles tightening up or shortening while others lengthen and become weak which often occurs as a result of one’s daily activities. There are however, other factors which can impact on posture and they include, other biomechanical factors such as force and repetition, but more importantly it also includes psychosocial factors such as job stress/strain. Workers who have higher job stress are more likely to develop neck and shoulder symptoms.

Poor posture can show up in a few different ways:

  • It can present with rounded and elevated shoulders and a push-forward head position. This position places stress on the spine between the top of the neck and skull and the base of the neck and upper shoulders. There is also a reduction in the stability of the shoulder blades resulting in changes to movement pattern of the upper extremities.
  • It can also present with a forward tilting of the hips, an increase in the curve of the lumbar (lower back) spine and a protruding stomach. This position places stress over both of the hip joints and lower back.
  • Poor posture can also result in spinal and joint dysfunction as a result of these muscle changes.
  • More than anything, posture can result in short time but more likely long term pain or damage.

ReferencesEdit

  • Connecticut Medical
  • Journal of Applied Ergonomics
  • Medycyna Pracy
  • Journal of Occupational Health (Japan)
  • Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
  • Journal of Physical Therapy
  • Journal of Manipulative and Physical Therapeutics
  • Scandinavian Journal of Work
  • Environment and Health
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