It is interesting that most of us don’t know what proper posture really is. At work, we are hunched over the computer or have the telephone pinched between our neck and shoulder. When we stand in line, we will lean to one side or back against the wall. And, let’s not get started with how we sleep…Proper posture or “alignment” is largely forgotten or was never known by many people.
Because poor posture could be causing your back pain, let us now revisiting this subject…
Let’s go back to finishing school shall we?
If you are having pain in your back on a consistent basis, take stock of how you stand, sit, lay and bend throughout the day. These movements could be contributing to the pain in your back, neck, shoulders, hips, and legs.
The spine has a natural curve in it, designed to help us move and bend and flex. Muscles support the spine, allowing us to do all that moving and bending and flexing with ease.
Here’s what happens when the body is out of alignment. The muscles are stretched and contorted to accommodate an unnatural position; unnatural to your body, that is. It is that stretching and contortion that causes the first signs of back pain. Over time, your muscles start to knot up, or even spasm, under the strain. Long term muscle stretching and contortions can result in long term muscle disfigurement, meaning long term pain.
Here are a few ways to improve your posture and alleviate that back pain before it becomes a more serious problem.
Get new shoes – Many of us wear our shoes unevenly and don’t even know it. If we were to try and stand level on a board we would be listing to one side or the other. Our bodies are out of alignment. Choose shoes that have built in arches and a shock-absorbing sole.
Revamp your workspace – Systems of office furniture have been developed to deal with posture and alignment. These systems are often referred to as ergonomic designs. There are chairs, computer keyboards, phone attachments, and more, that are designed to keep your posture aligned perfectly. Invest in these systems for a healthy back – and increased efficiency, as it’s hard to be productive when you’re in pain.
Change your mattress – Do you wake up with back pain? It could be a lumpy, uneven, or worn out mattress at fault. Some of the new “adjustable” mattresses allow you to tailor it to your needs and body type. There are others that are made with memory foam to conform to your body shape. Don’t forget the pillow. There are pillows that are specially designed to cradle the head in such a way that the spine is kept perfectly aligned throughout the night.
Be more aware of your posture habit – Simply being aware of how you are walking, standing, and sitting will be a start in correcting your posture. As you sit at your desk, set a timer to remind yourself every three to five minutes to sit up straight. Many of us round our shoulders over the keyboard. This timer going off will, over time, make us more aware of our proper posture. When standing, pull in your abdomen. This not only makes you look better, but the abdomen helps support the back, reducing back pain almost immediately and training the abdomen to give the back a little assist. And, yes, pretend you have a book on top of your head when you’re walking. Chin up, level steps, uplifted chest, and straight back will carry the invisible book beautifully.
With lessons learned from finishing school and a few tricks and tools to help you improve your posture, you could start to notice that back pain lessen, even disappear. Evaluate your body alignment and use these “perfect posture” recommendations to resolve your back pain issues and enjoy better all around health.