'Ideal' Sitting Posture Questioned by Oz Boffins

by Thilaka Ravi on Aug 27 2009 1:09 PM

Australian researchers have questioned the rationale behind the 'ideal' sitting posture.

According to researchers at the University of Queensland's Centre of Clinical Research Excellence in Spinal Pain, Injury and Health, the posture often recommended as ideal cannot be achieved sans assistance.

In fact, the 'ideal' curved lower back posture is not only difficult to achieve in a sitting position, it also takes effort to maintain, reports ABC Online.

Lead researcher Dr Andrew Claus says the belief that slumped postures are worse for spine than upright ones is making assumptions based on limited evidence.

"That's the thing that we're starting to redress," says Claus.

"It may be that slumped postures are uncomfortable for the spine and may cause people some problems, but the science to actually test or prove that is really weak," he adds.

To reach the conclusion, boffins used sensors attached to the backs of ten male volunteers to monitor the angle of their backs as they imitated pictures and descriptions of various postures. They were later helped to achieve the positions by a physiotherapist.

After analyses, scientists found that men could not achieve the much-recommended curved lower back posture unless hands-on guidance was provided, but were able to adopt the flat back and slump positions without any help.

Claus says that it suggests that if such a posture is the ideal, people must be educated properly on how to achieve it and specially designed chairs are unlikely to be enough.

The study has been published in the journal Manual Therapy.