If you have suffered from back pain now or in the past, chances are good that you have been told your posture could be to blame. In fact for most of us this advice precedes the back pain because dear old Mom used to say “sit up straight” or “stop slouching” all the time. You rolled your eyes and reluctant straightened your back momentarily and today you’re wishing you’d listened.
Its true good posture is essential for a variety of reasons but the problem is that if you have to be told to sit up, you have to constantly remind yourself to straighten your posture for it to be effective.
Poor posture, particularly while sitting can lead to a variety of back problems that range from mildly to severely painful. When you consider just how much time we spend sitting it’s no surprise why so many of us have back problems. Even if you don’t work in an office, you spend hours in a car, hunched over your home computer, at the dining table and watching television.
In fact, take a moment to think of how many of your favorite activities do not take place sitting down. Astonishing, isn’t it?
Don’t worry because today I want to show you a few tips that will help you sit up straight without having to admonish yourself regularly.
You’re probably thinking that you’ve been sitting for years and don’t need some guy you don’t even know telling you how to sit. But the truth is that very few office chairs actually accommodate proper sitting. So, when you sit down you need to make sure that your butt and back are placed firmly at the back of the chair. Your lower back should curve into the lower portion of the chair so your spine is in the normal ‘S’ curve to help you sit up straight.
At first you’ll forget so find a small way to remind yourself if you forget. Don’t let a nagging pain in your back be the reminder; use a note or set a reminder on your phone.
If you find that you are unable to get comfortable in your chair, make adjustments. The height of the office chair should allow you to place your feet flat on the floor. You may need to remove the headrest if applicable, as they tend to force your spine out of alignment.
You need an adjustable office chair with proper lower back support. If your current chair is missing both, your employer may replace it for you, particularly if your physician indicates your back problems are directly related to your posture.
If your employer refuses, you may want to look into a back support cushion that you can take with you for lumbar support wherever you sit. These cushions come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials and you can use them at the office, in the car or at home. Just slide it behind you and your posture practically fixes itself!
Now that you’ve squared away the proper way to have a seat without affecting your posture, it’s time to talk about a few ways to help you maintain that posture throughout the day.
- Rearrange the items on your desk to avoid overreaching for them. This can cause you to revert to your old sitting position rather than adjust with good posture.
- Avoid slouching to the point that you are “sitting” on your lower back/upper buttocks. This is a prime position for a world of back pain.
- Give your back a break from sitting by standing up, walking around and giving your back a solid stretch.
Sitting tall will keep help keep back pain away and it’ll help you project the confidence you need for a new and improved office chair!