Everyday, your spine wages a war against gravity. How well it is aligned during the day, will dictate how well it survives. Do you sit for long periods at work or at home? Do you find yourself slouching during the day? Poor posture strains spinal muscles, ligaments, tendons and connective tissues. This causes areas of the spine to become stiff, weak or even too loose. The center of gravity in your body falls along the natural curves of your spine. With poor posture, your spine loses its normal curvature, which places strain on different parts of the spine. For example, the lower spine can become too curved (lordosis) or flat (kyphosis).
7 Tips on Protecting Your Spine With Better Posture
The best way to alleviate back pain is to begin with a better posture. Sitting causes the most pressure on the spine itself, so it is important that if you do sit a lot during the day, you take extra care of your spine. Here are some simple tips to help you improve your posture by doing diﬀerent tasks:
- When sitting at a desk, make sure that you are sitting tall, with your feet flat on the floor. A computer screen should be high enough so that the top 1/3rd of the screen is eye level. The screen should also be directly infront of you and not oﬀ to the side as this rotates your spine.
- When walking, make sure to look ahead and pretend that an invisible string is pulling you up through the top of your head. This brings your body into better alignment.
- Avoid sitting at home in soft couches or in recliners for long periods. This causes an abnormal slouching in your low spine and a severe forward head posture strain.
- When lifting objects, keep them close to your body and keep your back straight. Kneel down or squat to pick up objects oﬀ the floor. Use your legs, not your spine.
- If your job or activities require you to be sitting for long hours, make sure that you get up and move around every 20-30minutes for 1-2 minutes to give your back a break.
- When sleeping, try to sleep on your back or side. Ideally, use a pillow under the back of your legs when lying on your back and between your knees when lying on your side. This keeps your spine in better alignment.
- When you first get into bed in the evening, lie on your side for 10 minutes with a pillow between your knees and legs tucked up close to you in a fetal position. This allows the discs between your spinal vertebrae to rehydrate after being compressed during the day.
Posture helps your joints heal.
The strain of daily activities causes inflammation deep in the tissues of the spine. This, in turn, irritates nerve endings, causing aches and pains. Proper posture helps reduce the strain on the spine throughout the day, reducing inflammation.
How physiotherapy helps your stride
Physical therapists are experts in posture and evaluating the alignment of the body. Our well-trained physiotherapists are registered with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario. They also have years of medical training to spot deviations in your body alignment due to compensation and underlying problems. Often the painful area compensates for poor posture and alignment in other areas. By working on these other problem areas, better posture can be restored, allowing your body to function normally and move through a pain-free range.
This article is part of our free back pain relief manual; You can download it by clicking here.
Owner / Registered Physiotherapist
About the Author
This article was written by We-Fix-U’s Owner and experienced Physiotherapist in Bowmanville. He has taken a special interest in treating back injuries since his own back surgery and rehab experience. His highlights have been working as a Physio alongside the athletes from the 2000 Olympics. Dave is always willing to help when needed.