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Could Posture Be Causing Your Back Pain?

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Growing up, my parents were always telling my brother "stop slouching!" Although, he viewed this comment as nagging, research proves that this is in fact excellent advice. There is a direct correlation between proper posture and efficient body function during daily activities. Poor posture causes postural stress on the spine, which can lead to headaches, back, neck and shoulder pain. Our environment promotes poor posture because everything we do is in front of us, our body must fight gravity to not hunch over but to sit and stand up right. By becoming aware of the positions that can cause postural stress we can strive to decrease the various triggers of back pain. Take a moment to assess your posture while you are reading this.

desk ergonomics

Posture in sitting:

  • Sit with your back against the chair, with the chair's lumbar support at the small of your back. You can also use a lumbar roll or rolled towel to assist with maintaining the normal curvature of the lumbar spine.
  • Keep your chest up with the monitor at eye level.
  • Keep hips and knees at a 90-degree angle with feet flat on the floor.
  • Remember to get up and interrupt this posture every 30 minutes.


Posture in standing:

  • Stand tall with your chest up and shoulders back.
  • Your chin should be tucked in so that the ears are in line with the shoulders.
  • Shoulders should be level and remain relaxed.Your weight should be evenly distributed on both feet and your lower abdominals drawn in.
  • If you spend a prolonged time in standing during your day, keep one foot on a small step. This will help maintain a neutral pelvis.


Posture while sleeping:

  • Correcting posture while sleeping is one of the hardest things you can do because once you are asleep your body will fall into a posture that is most comfortable.
  • A mattress that is firm is highly recommended. Your mattress should not be sagging or lumpy. If your mattress is not firm try flipping or rotating it. If after doing this it is still not firm, you may want to consider purchasing a new one. Although a new mattress can be expensive it is a great investment on your body!
  • If you are a side sleeper, you will want to sleep with two pillows or one thick one under the head so that you are able to maintain a neutral alignment from the ears to the shoulders. Keep hips and knees bent but no greater that 90-degrees and place a pillow between the knees so the hips are able to maintain proper alignment.neck roll
  • If you are a back sleeper, you will want to sleep with one pillow and perhaps a cervical roll or rolled towel under the neck to maintain a neutral position of the neck while lying on your back. 
  • Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended because it can be stressful on the neck and shoulders.

Changing your posture can be frustrating and may seem like a slow process, but remember that just like poor posture is a habit so is good posture. If your posture is causing you pain, contact your physician for a consultation and possible referral to a physical therapist at The Center for Physical Rehabilitation.  We can assist you with a customized stretching and strengthening program to meet your needs.





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