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“Oh, my aching back.”
How many of you have said those words about a nagging muscle or ligament problem? While slips on ice, trips over curbs and improper lifting can be the cause of those problems, there’s another culprit. Who or what is this guilty party? Poor posture. Yes, lying, sitting, standing and walking with poor posture can put major strain on your body.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, “Several factors contribute to poor posture — most commonly, stress, obesity, pregnancy, weak postural muscles, abnormally tight muscles and high-heeled shoes. In addition, decreased flexibility, a poor work environment, incorrect working posture, and unhealthy sitting and standing habits also can contribute to poor body positioning.”
You can limit wear and tear by taking some of these steps to improve your posture:
- Hold your chest high.
- Relax your shoulders and keep them back.
- Pull in your abdomen and backside.
- Don’t lock your knees or tilt your head in any direction.
- Balance your weight on both feet.
- Keep your feet parallel.
- Hold your head high.
- Look forward, not down and keep your chin parallel to the ground.
- Lightly contract your abdominal muscles.
- Slightly bend your elbows, and freely swing your arms.
- Move your shoulders naturally.
- Straighten and avoid arching your back.
- Search for a mattress that is right for you.
- Use a pillow when you sleep.
- Don’t sleep on your stomach.
- Put a pillow between your legs if you sleep on your side.
- Put a pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back.
Ergonomics at the office
Sitting at a desk all day can contribute to aches and pains.
However, practicing good office ergonomics can help you keep your muscles and ligaments healthy:
- Adjust your chair height. You want your chair to be in a position that allows your feet to sit flat on the ground and your knees to be level with your hips. If need be, place a cushion in the small of your back while sitting in your chair. This helps with lumbar support.
- Position your go-to items effectively. You’re often reaching for your phone, computer mouse or calculator, so keep these items in easily reachable positions.
- Take care of your wrists. Keep your wrists straight while typing. Also, use a wrist rest for support.
- Sit up straight. While in front of your computer or at your desk, sit up straight and position your body in the center of your work station.
- Use a headset. Wedging your phone between your shoulder and the side of your face while writing isn’t a good thing. Use a headset instead to reduce the strain on your body.
Improving your posture helps improve your overall health. Speak with your health care provider if you have further questions about bettering your posture.