Sitting with poor posture may seem like just another bad habit on your fix-list, but, if ignored, can cause some horrible, lasting problems. Bad posture can occur for many reasons, and is commonly seen in workers that spend all day sitting behind a desk or hours on end behind the wheel of a car or truck. Poor posture can often result in back and neck pain or spasms, physical damage to the spine, and arthritis. However, with some simple adjustments, seated posture can be improved and painful side effects eliminated. Here are some steps to take for making sitting a little easier and less painful all-around.
Sit Properly and Save Your Back
The most important part of improving your posture is sitting up straight. When sitting in a chair, be sure to scoot all the way to the back of the chair. When you sit up straight, your ears, shoulders, and buttocks should all be aligned to ensure proper spine position. Your feet should be flat on the floor, and your knees should be bent to at least 90 degrees. If needed, use a stool or a step, in order to facilitate proper posture.
It is important to give your back and other joints a break from sitting occasionally as well. Every 30 minutes or so, stand up and stretch your legs and back to prevent cramping and other discomfort.
Other Ways to Improve Your Posture
If you do perform a job in which you are required to sit behind a desk each day, consider different alternatives for your desk or chair. Standing desks are becoming more prevalent because they do not allow poor, slouched posture, and can be more comfortable than sitting. If you prefer to sit, consider replacing your chair with an exercise ball. Since exercise balls do not have any back supports or arm rests, they force a person to balance and practice proper sitting mechanics and good posture.
Improve Strength and Manage Discomfort
Back and core exercises will help strengthen your body’s stabilization muscles and take pressure of your back and neck joints. Exercises such as leg raises and planks for your abdominals, as well as back extensions, can provide a solid foundation for improved core strength and decreased back pain.
If back pain has been an issue due to a long history of poor posture, a chiropractor can be a great option to help address this issue. Chiropractors can help loosen and relieve pressure in back joints to allow proper curvature and decreased pain. They might teach you lumbar decompression exercises and stretches for flexibility, or you might even try chiropractic electrical stimulation. However, between appointments, it is still critical to practice and ensure you practice proper posture throughout the day.
Although poor posture can form over a long period of time, it can be fairly easy to correct. Completing exercises that promote back strength and flexibility, along with minor postural corrections, can improve your work day and make your back pain more manageable.