In many cultures around the world we’re placed in a chair from an early age for long hours everyday. This comes with it’s issues, especially as you age and continue sitting for long hours at a desk or on the sofa or driving seat. It changes the shape of our spine and even with exercise, we lose the support our natural position would of given us.
Researcher and biochemist Esther Gokhale has looked into what our prehistoric ancestor’s spines looked like and their footprint pattern, revealing a J shaped spine. She went even further and studied modern cultures that don’t suffer from back pain, she found chairs are not a feature of their day to day life and they too have the J shaped spine. In the western world we’re taught that an S shaped spine is healthy but studies show we’re born with a J shape and it starts to deform in primary school. I’m not a doctor or health professional but I do have an interest in occupational hazards and digging into what benefits we gain from technology and the detriments that ingrained repetition and poor design has done to our bodies and minds.
I do regularly try to move when at my workstation which comprises of a desk, gaming chair, piano and to avoid my arms being forced onto the desk, a keyboard tray to bring my shoulders down to a natural position. With these measures, I do still suffer from back pain which can be distracting and prevents free flowing creativity on occasion.
Something I luckily held on to from a child is the natural seated resting position. Gardening has helped sustain this.
My next exploration into correcting my spine and shoulders is working in this position. Taking the piano off the stand and on to the floor. Lying the screen nearly flat as if looking into a pool of water (making sure it doesn’t overheat). Something I’d also like to try is to get the shortcut key commands converted to voice commands, removing the keyboard as much as possible. I’ll report back with how this working position goes.
I encourage you to try this natural squat position and try to vary your position regularly, it might just help your creative and practical decisions. Let me know in the comments if there’s anything you’ve discovered that helps you or just want to chat about this more.