Proper Posture for Pain-Free Living
Do you sit at a desk or at home for the majority of your day? Do you struggle with pain in your neck, back, and/or shoulders? Although a sedentary job may not be physically taxing, consitently sitting with poor posture can certainly be physically damaging. Long-term desk jobs with poor posture can lead to unwanted, gradual changes in your anatomical build, specifically your vertebrae. Over time, you will feel and see the undesirable side effects of improper posture on your body and health.
In terms of health and well-being, back pain is the most common work-related problem. Back pain induced by poor posture, ie. - slouching in your chair, is likely due to the constriction of blood vessels and nerves. Poor posture also places abnormal stress on your discs and joints.
Neck and Shoulders
Did you know that for each inch the head shifts forward, an extra 10 pounds is added to your upper back and cervical spine? Anatomically, your head is naturally supposed to be in line with your spine. When your head and shoulders are consistently slouched forward at a desk, you are placing the weight of your head on the cervical spine and shoulders - leading to neck pain, shoulder pain, or even degenerative disk disease. In addition, your upper back muscles will compensate from the heavy load of your head by shifting backwards.
Make Subtle Changes in Your Day
Adjust Screen Height
Move the computer screen until it is at eye-level to prevent your chin from slouching downwards. In addition, text while holding the phone at eye-level.
In between each vertebrae, you have discs which are composed primarily of water - hence their spongey texture. Drinking at least 8 large glasses of water a day will assure you are strenthening those discs!
Carry Weight Proportionally
Heavy purses on one shoulder cause one shoulder to slouch down further than the other. Trylightening the purse load, or carrying a back pack while focusing on evening out the shoulders.
Sleep on Your Back
Sleeping on your back allows the spine to rest at its natural, comfortable position. If you prefer to sleep on your side, choose a pillow that is no greater than 6 inches thick.
Walk and Sit Properly
Walk and sit with your head up so that you are looking straight ahead of you. Pull the shoulders back and downwards while keeping the head in line with your spine.
When sitting, keep the back even with the back of your chair. Keep your feet flat on the floor, and your knees in level, or slightly higher, with your hips. Your knees should be in a 90 degree angle. If you use a chair that rotates, do not twist at the hips. Insetad, rotate the entire body.
Stretch and Exercise
Engage in neck/back stretches and core strengthening exercises daily. Pilates and yoga places great emphasis on posture and stretching.