Sitting Posture

By Sally Ann Quirke, Chartered Physiotherapist | Filed under: Good Posture


Believe it or not, sitting posture is one of my favourite things to talk about with my clients. Why? Correction results in longer-term back pain relief.

Good Sitting Posture

Why is it so important

Anything that we do too much of - such as adopting a peculiar computer posture (I’ve seen them all!) - usually results in a problem! Sitting with an incorrect posture over time is no different - and leads to the majority of neck and back pain symptoms that I see in my physiotherapy practice a daily basis.

Just as there is a correct position for a door on its hinge, there too is a correct position for each part of our bodies when we sit. If you open and close a door that is only half in its hinge then it will eventually breakdown. So too will your back and neck if you sit badly and continue to ignore it over time.

Frequently, when I carry out posture analysis and suggest to a client that their back and neck pain is due to the way they sit, they respond by saying that they disagree! They reason that they have been sitting the same way for years and it is only lately that they have experienced pain. The reply I use is that if a door is half off its hinges, you may manage to open and close it for some time before it fully breaks down at which point it will not open or close anymore.

Similarly your back and neck will work for a while - but it will only be at the breakdown stage that you will experience pain.

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So, what is a correct sitting posture?

Try the following:

Good Sitting Posture
Good Sitting Posture is an ‘Active Posture’
  1. Sit with your feet and knees hip distance apart and facing forwards.
  2. Your knees should be very slightly lower than your hips.
  3. Your tailbone should be lifted towards the ceiling - that is, not slumped backwards in the chair. However it should not be lifted to the full extent of your range, just half way.
  4. Your shoulder blades should be held down slightly.
  5. Imagine a helium balloon coming from the top of your head lifting you towards the ceiling. Your chin must not be poked outwards.
  6. Think of your whole body being lengthened towards the ceiling.

This is an “active” sitting posture. It is the sitting posture that I encourage and it will save you a lot of money on posture chairs, desks and other back pain relief products and posture correction devices that you do not necessarily need.


While the content and materials contained in the articles on this website have been written & researched by Sally Ann Quirke, a professional, practising & fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) based in Ireland, they are provided for general information and educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Chartered Physiotherapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation.

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