Back pain is the number one source of disability worldwide, according to figures from the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Report. With 31 million Americans reporting that they experience back pain, it is important to address this widespread health problem. Although spinal problems can arise due to many causes, poor posture is a leading contributor to back pain and spinal health problems.
Tips to Maintain Posture for Good Spine Health
- Maintain good body alignment. When it comes to posture, proper alignment is key. When sitting, imagine that a string is attached to the top of your head and is tugging it upward. Sit with your back straight, your feet flat on the floor, and your shoulders back. Your head should remain upright, causing your spine to remain straight. Avoid assuming positions that cause your spine to twist, which can cause tissue damage over time.
- Observe how you stand. People who stand for long periods of time often suffer from back pain. To take excessive pressure off your spine, stand with one foot slightly in front of the other and your knees slightly bent.
- Move, move, move! You may be confined to an office cubicle all day, but it is important to take the time to get up and move around. Aim to get five minutes of movement per hour. Taking a quick break to go to the bathroom or refill your water bottle can ensure that you maintain a relaxed yet supported posture.
- Use chair supports. Many chairs are not designed with ergonomics in mind, so you may need to make accommodations to make yours more comfortable. If you’re experiencing back pain, consider placing a small pillow or towel in the curve of your lower back. Placing your feet on footrests may also alleviate pressure that contributes to back pain.
- Watch your bags. Carrying a large purse, briefcase or backpack may harm your spinal alignment. Avoid messenger-style bags in favor of something that distributes weight evenly along your back and shoulders. Additionally, eliminating a few extraneous items can diminish the bag’s weight and improve your spinal health.
- Stay fit. Carrying excess weight — particularly a large stomach — places a strain on your spine. Improve your diet and exercise habits to maintain an appropriate body weight that keeps your spine in good health.
Years of poor posture may have taken a toll on your musculoskeletal system. To learn how to combat back pain and other problems, contact our spine care specialists today for an individualized approach to healthy spine care.
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