What is perfect posture?
Posture and back pain are insurmountably linked. However, there is no such thing as a ‘perfect posture’; the key is to avoid remaining in positions that cause you discomfort. In other words, finding positions to sit, stand and sleep that are comfortable for you. These positions will be different for each person.
If you find a link between certain positions and your back or neck pain, then it is important to vary your posture throughout the day and avoid those positions that cause discomfort.
If you find that sitting for too long causes your back to ache, it is recommended that you perform a short series of movements through the day. Your healthcare professional can assist you in determining the correct sequence of movements to help you to start moving again without pain. However, our blog Office Worker Prehab provides a some general guidelines on movements that are commonly recommended to reduce backache caused by sitting for too long.
Posture and Back Pain: General Advice
Poor posture and back pain are seen frequently in healthcare clinics. Unsurprisingly having and maintaining a good posture is a major step in preventing back pain. When leading a busy lifestyle, the early warning signs of back problems can go unnoticed and it is common for patients to present with poor posture and back pain and be completely unaware of the link between the two. Of course no one is immune from back pain, but following the simple guidelines set out below can go a long way to minimising your risk.
Get moving, but get warm first
Any unusual exercise can put you at risk of back pain. You might only play a relaxed, low-risk sport once a week, but you still need to prepare yourself sufficiently – mentally and physically.
Your general posture may be fairly good but this can alter greatly when playing a sport you don’t often play, or even more simply, when just moving in a way you don’t often move. It is important to improve your form when exercising.
Warming up and warming down is essential to ensure that your joints and muscles don’t get a shock. Strong local core muscles can potentially help to prevent a bad back.
Don’t just sit there
A lack of exercise is your worst enemy. Regular exercise is essential as the fitter you are, the less likely you are to injure yourself.
Simple activities such as stretching and shoulder shrugging can all help to keep your back in line.
Do not sit for prolonged periods.
Don’t drive yourself around the bend
Driving long distances for work, on the school run or picking up the monthly shop, the last thing on our minds is the state of our backs whilst in the driving seat.
There is almost twice as much pressure on your back when you are sitting incorrectly than there is when you are standing.
Relax – a relaxed driving position reduces stress on the spine.
Allow your seat to take your weight, try to make sure you are sitting as far back in the car seat as possible so it can support you fully.
Sit up straight
When you are relaxing in front of the TV, the tendency is to ‘slouch’ when sitting.
The ideal sitting position is to let the seat take your weight and, if possible, keep as much of your body in contact with the chair so that your whole body is supported.
Carry with care
Be aware of the potential dangers of putting more strain on one side of the body
more than the other.
Any bag that spreads equal weight on both shoulders is preferred, so if you can carry items in a rucksack – do it! Adjust the straps of a bag to keep it as close to the back as possible which ensures weight is evenly distributed across the back.
Footloose and fancy free
Having good footwear is an essential part of having a good posture.
Soft-soled shoes, which are supportive and have a good grip, are recommended.
Perfect PC posture
A lot of people spend hours in front of a PC each day – make sure you are sitting comfortably and have your spine supported. Don’t forget to shift position from time to time.
Limit yourself to forty-minutes sitting at a time and take regular breaks. If possible, have your arms supported.
And so to bed
Try and adopt a sleeping position which creates less physical stress on the back first thing in the morning. For example, lay on your side and not on your front with your neck twisted. When you wake up, try some gentle stretches, such as drawing your knees to your chest, before getting out of bed.