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Veli-Jussi Jalkanen,
Sitting Health Expert

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02.06.2017

Rural entrepreneur, this is how you can prevent and treat your back and joint disorders effectively

Rural entrepreneurs work hard in many ways. Depending on the company and the line of business, a large part of the work is done by either driving a vehicle, or sitting in front of work machines or in an office.

03.pngSitting is known to cause many so-called sitting-related ailments. The most common are back and joint problems, disturbances in the fluid circulation in the lower limbs, and unexpectedly also shoulder problems.

Risk factors for sitting health

In the natural position of the back there is a little curve in the lower back, in the same way as when we are standing. The most effective destroyer of the back is a poor posture, that is, a slouched sitting position where the back is rounded. In this position the vertebrae are "open", i.e. they do not lean on each other, which causes one-sided pressure on the disks. This can result in herniation. When the back is rounded the stretched and tightened muscles disturb blood and lymph flow in the different tissues of the back. The disks and ligaments are in the greatest danger of deterioration because they get all the nutrients and oxygen they need from the surrounding tissues. Therefore the tissues should be full of oxygen and nutrients, but in the tense muscles this is not the case. Swinging, jolts and wobbling of the seat multiply the risks of the already weakened back. For example, the forestry machine drivers often have back problems even before the age of 40.

26.png<-- R&D Manager Jari Sundvall is developing new solutions to traditional sitting environments.

Poor posture is also the main reason for tense shoulders and shoulder joint problems. In a poor posture the shoulder muscles don’t function naturally. In addition, hands are often held too much in the front, and the head of the humerus is not firmly in the joint. A maximum angle of 30 degrees between the arm and the body is still safe. Maintenance, repair and loading work require reaching, and the steering wheel of vehicles requires turning – the situation causing joint problems is further aggravated.

Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease in Finland. Osteoarthritis in the knees and hips is due to the 90 degree angle in them. Then muscles and tendons are subjected to higher static pressure. This interferes with the cartilage metabolism and increases the risk of osteoarthritis.

In general, the rural entrepreneur also manages office jobs sitting with his back rounded. Additionally, the viewing angle may be too low for the monitor or job target. This affects the shoulders, neck and even the cerebrovascular system when tense cervical muscles disturb the fluid flow in the main vessels of the head.

The solution to sitting-related ailments was developed in Finland and has spread all over the world

The most effective treatment and prevention of sitting-related problems is to change the sitting position at different workstations and vehicles to riding-like sitting. The seat is a two-part saddle chair. It can be equipped with an adjustable tilt mechanism or with a swing mechanism that allows the seat to move freely in all directions. In riding-like sitting the neutral angle in the hips and knees is 135 degrees. The legs are on the sides of the body, so they support the back very well and balance it against jolts and wobbling. The posture is substantially improved and sitting is comfortable.

 14.png   16.png<-- Jesse Nenonen is one of the makers of Salli Saddle Chairs, but jumped on a lawn mover for a change.

In vehicles the seat is secured from its steel base plate to the flexible frame of the old seat. The seat can also be accompanied by a small backrest, even though the riding-like position practically removes the need for leaning almost completely.

When watching monitors, sorting things, or sitting in workshops and offices one should use a saddle chair that is specifically adapted with different coatings, upholstery and accessories. Swinging models tempt the sitter to move, so the passive effects of sitting are reduced. Mr Arto Pesola, Doctor of Sports Physics, also speaks for the saddle chair: "When sitting on a saddle chair or a gym ball the angle between the thighs and the body increases, the pelvis turns forward and the spine settles into its natural position. With these seats the sitting position becomes healthier.”

The best way for those who suffer from back and joint disorders to improve their prognosis is to always take care of good ergonomics, use supplementary nutrients that enhance joint health, avoid sitting with the back rounded, exercise, and visit chiropractors regularly. Maintaining the ideal weight by following a low carbohydrate diet will also help. You can read more about joint health here.

Traditional medical care in treating joint disorders often results in disappointment. By far the most cost-effective and least time consuming way is to prevent problems and try to eliminate the risk factors that cause them. So you can get rid of joint problems, you just need to learn how to do it!

Veli-Jussi Jalkanen

Preventive Health Science Expert
Agronomist, farmer
Chairman of the board, Salli Systems