Proper posture is key to keeping a healthy, pain-free back and neck. Good posture can also help to alleviate headaches and even fatigue. Whether it’s walking down the street, sleeping in a bed, driving or lifting heavy objects, it’s important to maintain correct posture so as not to injure the back. Not maintaining proper posture can put stress to the spine and strain the muscles involved mainly because the muscles are struggling to keep you balanced when using poor posture. With time problems with the muscles, discs, joints and possibly constricted blood vessels and nerves may occur.
One thing to remember is that good posture is about keeping your body in alignment. If you can draw a straight line from your earlobe through your shoulder, hip, knee, and down to the middle of your ankle, then you have good posture. A healthy back consists of three natural curves: that inward curve at the neck, outward curve at the upper back, and an inward curve at the lower back. These curves create that “S” shape which is important to maintain as it’s the natural postural position for your back. Here are some tips to maintaining good posture for different positions.
- Keep your feet hip or shoulder width apart, distributing weight evenly on both feet mostly on the balls of your feet.
- Keep your shoulders back and relaxed and let your hands hang naturally at your sides
- Pull in your abdomen
- Keep your head back and up, picture yourself reaching for the ceiling with the top of your head. This will improve posture but also make you look taller and leaner!
- Do Not Lock Your Knees! Keep your knees relaxed, just slightly bent.
Sitting: “Sit up straight”
- Keep your feet flat on the floor or on some sort of support.
- Sit back in your chair with a rolled towel or small pillow behind your lower back if there’s no lumbar support. This will help keep that normal curve again in your back.
- Keep shoulders relaxed, adjust your chair so that you’re arms are flexed and not straight out.
- Just like standing, keep your head and back upright
- Try not to sit longer than 30 minutes. Take standing breaks.
- Very similar to sitting but keep your head back against the seat and headrest. If you’re leaning forward you are too far from the pedals and steering wheel, if you are bunched up with your chin on top of the steering wheel you are too close. Adjust to maintain a proper distance.
- Your knees should be at the same level or higher than your hips and the seat should be close enough to allow your knees to bend.
- No matter which position you like to sleep in, your pillow should be under your head, not your shoulders and should be a thickness that allows your head to be in a normal position, not too flexed or too extended. Don’t overdo the pillows!
- Using a firmer mattress with help maintaining proper back support but if you’ve always used a softer mattress it may be painful to make the transition. Do what’s comfortable for you!
- Try not to sleep on your stomach as this causes the most strain on your back. If you prefer sleeping on your side use a small, flat pillow between your knees to keep your spine aligned and straight.
If you have back pain, you may benefit from physical therapy. A physical therapist can assess your posture and be able to determine whether your posture may be the cause of your back pain. They can also teach you correct standing, sitting, and sleeping posture techniques to help improve your activities of daily living.
We treat back pain and assess posture in the Clermont 34711 area!