I’ve heard many a time in my life that until you’ve experienced back pain, you can honestly have no idea of how debilitating it can be. That alone makes me want to be certain I do anything I can to avoid it (I’m such a wuss!) I spend 90% of my day hunched over a keyboard, which, along with millions of office workers, puts me at risk of developing back pain simply because of poor posture. I regularly correct my sitting position when I’m working and you should too. These tips will help.
1. Understand What Good Posture is
Good posture means simply keeping your body in alignment. It includes a straight back, squared shoulders, chin up, chest out, stomach in, and feet forward. There are several tips to achieve the correct posture. To correct your posture, look at the side of your body in a mirror. The earlobe should align with the shoulder and the hip. This pose should not hurt. If it does, check to be sure you’re not forcing your back into an unnatural position.
2. Teach Your Body What Good Posture Feels like
Stand against a wall. Good posture means the back of your head, your shoulders, and your butt will be touching the wall. It may feel awkward at first, especially if you have bad posture, but you should try to replicate this body stance throughout the day, and soon it will no longer feel awkward. It sometimes helps to use a memory jogger, like a reminder that pops up on your phone or associating posture with a certain color, so that when you see that color you think of your posture and straighten up. Correct posture may alleviate pain and stress in the shoulders, neck, and back.
3. Sitting Posture
If you are sitting at a desk, be sure you’re sitting on a chair that’s ergonomically correct and provides support for your back. If proper back support is not available, use a pillow. Keep your shoulders straight and squared and your head upright. Both feet should be flat on the ground or a footrest. If sitting on a sofa or easy chair, be sure the seat does not sink too deeply and that your back is supported.
4. Posture at the Keyboard
Many people work at a computer much of the day. In addition to assuming the correct sitting posture, be sure your elbows bend at roughly 75-90 degrees and rest easily at your sides. Hands should rest above the keyboard. If your arms are not resting at your side, you may be either too close or too far away from your keyboard and this may result in a back ache.
5. Computer Screen Posture
Your computer monitor should be placed directly in front of you, not angled away from you. These steps eliminate neck twisting and stress. Your eyes should be positioned about 2-3” below the top of the monitor. If the monitor is too high, neck pain may result, and if it’s too low, you may slouch and cause the neck, shoulders and lower back to hurt. Monitors should be placed about an arm’s length from the eyes. These steps will help you avoid neck and shoulder pain.
6. Driving Posture
Good driving posture not only helps alleviate pain, but is important for safety. Begin with a good sitting posture. Keep your back against the seat and the headrest. Keep pedals within comfortable distance; if you are reaching or are too close, your lower back may suffer. If you are too close or too far from the steering wheel your shoulders and middle back may hurt.
7. Sleeping Posture
While you will not be able to consciously control your posture during sleep, sleeping soundly and in the correct way will help you avoid pain and contribute to greater health. To help maintain your posture during sleep, use a firmer mattress so you don’t sink into it. If you can, sleep on you back because it will keep your shoulders straight. However, many people aren’t comfortable in that position and sleep on their sides. When sleeping on your side, try putting a small pillow between your knees to keep you back aligned. Avoid too few or too many pillows, as they may place you head in an unnatural position and cause your neck to ache.
I think this shows that something as simple as posture can have a big impact on your overall well being. Is it something you need to work on?