Updated: Jul 7, 2020
Someone I was working with asked me this question last week, so I decided to share the question and answer with you.
(This is a common question I often get asked about posture)…
’Preston, recently I had a back strain injury, and although I've tried using a heating pad, I still seem to suffer from pain. What would help improve my posture??…’
– Mary, 53
We tend to underestimate the power of great posture and the advantages it can provide to our lifestyle.
Think of it in this way, a lot of our time is spent at work or doing whatever it is that you do, but if you have bad posture throughout your day, in the long run, it can have a severe effect.
Some people can spend hours either at a desk or sitting in a chair, even standing for long periods. Unfortunately, the majority of the hours with bad posture can add up to something serious when not addressed.
Here are a few ways to have better posture and ultimately, make it a healthy habit in your lifestyle.
This tip might seem quite obvious, but the first thing I would recommend is to keep your body straight. When sitting, adjust your seat or chair. A chair is designed to support us while we sit.
Pay special attention to sitting up straight and adjust the chair so that it feels comfortable and supportive. Sometimes, depending on how long you sat for, even if you are sitting in a good position, it can feel tiring. If this is the case, then try shifting towards the center of your seat (so the back away from the back support of the chair) with a straight back from time to time. This repositioning technique can sometimes help ease your back muscles and stop you from slouching.
When we are standing, try to stand up as straight as possible. I understand it can feel like a relief to rest your body weight on one leg while resting the rest of your body on a table or desk. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, this is pretty much how not to stand. Ultimately all you are doing to your body is putting a strain on particular muscles while you ‘rest’. When standing, make sure your body weight is spread evenly to the front, back, and sides of the feet.
Another great tip is to get up (if you are not already) and move! As a result, you will not be glued to your chair all day, to help reduce putting more pressure on the neck and back.
The best time to get up and move is when you start to feel your body slouch a little and find it hard to keep in a comfortable position. If possible, try and get up from your chair every half an hour or so and do a few stretches or walk around for a few minutes. Think of it as a break for your body. After a few minutes come back to your chair refreshed and ready to start working. Like Mary, if you are thinking of using posture-friendly props, then great.
They are easy to find and can make a big difference to your posture while seated. As Mary has done, she has decided to use a lumbar air pillow to better support her posture and back.
However, many other supports will help you feel more comfortable while sitting. Footrests, back support, and even a pillow can help ease back pain. Also, positioning your computer screen or television in level to your resting eye position will help avoid straining the neck with the head tilted forward or rotated.
So my answer to Mary is this- yes, a support or aid can help ease pain from poor posture, but remember to put the other tips in place too.
The solution lies not only in putting these actions in place but also committing to these tips in the long run. It may not be a quick fix, but you will be easing your pain in the long-term. Working on improving our posture is one of the healthy habits that needs to incorporate into there lifestyle to help minimize stress to the neck and back for an improved quality of life.
Physical therapy is an effective alternative in addressing back issues and addressing areas that may be contributing to the problem as it relates to limiting your daily activities. If you or your loved one is suffering from back pain it is highly recommended to consult a medical professional to discuss the problem. Having a better understanding of what positions to avoid and having a better understanding of what works best for you and your condition is highly important.
If you live in the Greater Milwaukee area and would like to learn more about how physical therapy or a trained physical therapist can help you please reach out to us CLICK HERE.
Talk more soon!!
P.S. If you’re experiencing stiffness in your back which restricts your ability to move without pain, click here to download my free back pain tips guide which includes actionable tips I give to my patients at Prestige Therapy and Wellness, LLC. Click the link to get your free copy: https://prestigetherapywellness.lpages.co/back-pain-freebie/