by Geri Walton ~ January 12th, 2009
Many backaches can be prevented by employing proper posture. In fact, more backaches are caused by poor posture than about anything else. Proper posture is also good for your health because your organs will function better, and you’ll look better. Moreover, poor posture can cause more than back pain, it can result in headaches, neck pain, and shoulder pain.
There are several factors that can stress your back and increase your risk of back problems. They are
- Being overweight
- Lifting heavy objects repeatedly
- Feeling stressed
- Having poor posture and slouching
- Lack of exercise
- Sitting for long periods of times
- Sleeping on a poor quality mattress
- Talking on the phone for long periods
There are four areas you need to evaluate in relation to your posture. They are
Sitting is important. If you sit for long periods take breaks every thirty minutes, and get up and move around periodically to relieve back stress. To sit properly use these tips:
- Place both feet on the floor.
- Never slump.
- If you sit at a computer all day, make sure the chair is the proper height and ensure that you don’t have to twist or arch your neck to see the screen.
- Sit as close as you can to your work and relax your arms and shoulders by placing your arms on the arm rests.
- Distribute your weight equally across the chair.
- Stand up properly. Don’t throw yourself forward or bend at the waist. Instead stand by straightening your legs.
Standing is just as important as sitting. Use these tips to stand erect and have proper posture.
- Breathe in and out through your nose instead of your mouth.
- Hold your stomach in and tuck in your chin.
- Stand erect with your shoulders back, and don’t let them fall or roll forward.
- Ensure your head is held high and that you back is straight.
- Allow your hands to hang naturally at your sides.
Bending and Lifting Posture
Bending is extremely important. You never want to twist your body or bend at the waist. If you have to twist to pick something up, reposition yourself and bend from the right direction. If you have to lift something heavy, never do it by yourself. Find someone to help. Additionally, remember to do these four things when bending and lifting:
- Bend from the knees.
- Hold in your stomach.
- Keep your back straight.
- Hold the object close to your body.
It’s just as important what you sleep on as how you sleep. When selecting a mattress, choose a firm one. It is best to sleep on your back. If that is painful, you can use some sort of support at night, such as a pillow under your knees or a towel tied around your waist. Avoid sleeping on your stomach or with your arms under the pillow. When you wake up, to rise, turn on your side, draw up both knees, and swing your legs onto the floor. Push yourself up with your hands, and don’t bend at the waist.
If you have back pain, proper posture can often help improve the situation. This book, 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back, written by Esther Gokhale, L.Ac. focuses on improving posture and alleviating back pain. Gokhale has helped thousands of people with the Gokhale method, and you can benefit from her experience by reading her book and applying her techniques. She promises they will relieve back, neck, shoulders, hips, knees, and feet pain. If you are interested in going to the source and attending classes in Palo Alto, California, taught by Gokhale or other Gokhale-trained instructors, you can visit the Esther Gokhale site for more information.