Learn How to Improve Posture and Prevent Back Pain with These 6 Tips
Are you in a slump? We’ve all experienced the neck strain from hunching over the computer or bending over our phone for hours. Many of us engage in activities that are counter-productive to improving our posture.
So, is posture that important? In short, yes. Having the proper posture prevents strain on your neck and shoulders. Good posture keeps your spinal column aligned and helps you avoid exacerbating disc strain and pinched nerves. Better still, sitting up straight and standing tall helps us feel more confident (and look better to boot)!
With all of these benefits, it’s time to kick the slouching habit. Here’s how to improve posture and prevent back pain.
Posture and Back Health
While bad posture won’t likely cause your back issues, it can increase your pain and discomfort. If you’re experiencing regular back or neck strain or pain that doesn’t seem to improve, it’s time to make an appointment with one of our orthopedic experts. Here at the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin, we focus on musculoskeletal issues including back and neck injuries. These issues should never be ignored, so make an appointment right away if your back pain is detracting from your enjoyment and quality of life.
For minor back, neck, and shoulder strain, improving your posture may help eliminate or significantly reduce your discomfort. Today’s lifestyle comes with many conveniences, but one area where our modern amenities hurt us is our posture. Using technology, having sedentary lifestyles, and sitting can add up to poor posture and back stress.
A strong back is a healthy back, so regular exercise and movement can also help you improve your back health and your posture. If you’re unable to exercise due to back discomfort, don’t suffer through the pain. Make an appointment today to get your back on track!
1. Use the Right Chair for the Job
The right chair makes a big difference when you’re sitting all day. Use a chair with a comfortable, supportive back and lumbar support to ensure you’re not putting undue strain on your spine, neck, or shoulders.
Your chair should be the right height for your work surface too. If the chair is too tall, you may hunch over. Your arms should sit comfortably at a 90-degree angle and your screen should be directly in front of you, 20-40 inches away. Your feet should rest comfortably on the floor. Get a chair that supports you as you work, and don’t forget to stand up regularly throughout the day.
2. Minimize Screen Use
Our phones and computers are wonderful, helpful devices that connect us to the world. But when we’re bending over screens all day, our neck and back can start to feel the burn. While it’s tempting to use a tablet or phone during your downtime, take frequent screen breaks.
Make sure your screen settings are adjusted so it’s easy to view and read from a comfortable distance. Hunching down to read your phone can lead to strain on the vertebrae in your neck. Working on a laptop or tablet for long periods can also lead to back stress. Take frequent breaks and use an ergonomic computer setup during your workdays.
3. Set Up Reminders
Need help remembering to sit up straight? Set a reminder on your phone or calendar to stand or adjust your posture every 30 minutes to an hour. Many of us get used to working and forget to straighten up as the day goes on.
Set reminders until better posture becomes a habit. As you build your core strength and think about your posture frequently, you will start to see a change. Like slouching, improving your posture can also become habitual.
4. Try Yoga and Movement
Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi are excellent for posture improvement. Dance is also good for posture and poise. At the end of the day, though, it’s important that you find a form of movement you enjoy and stick to it. If yoga isn’t your preferred activity, it’s okay. Find something you love and will do regularly.
Movement and exercise of any sort will help you build core strength—something critical for maintaining good posture. Go for walks, take a water aerobics class, or weight train to get the benefits of building a solid core. When you focus on movement, you’ll stay fit, and fitness is critical for eliminating back strain and stress.
5. Do Light Stretching Regularly
As you work to improve your posture, you’ll notice that stretching feels great. Your stretching routine can (and should) be very gentle. You don’t need to stress your joints or strain your back to get a good stretch. Do some light bends or raise your arms above your head.
Stretching is also beneficial before and after exercise. Warm-up with a few light stretches and cool down after with a stretch out. Again, you don’t need to do rigorous bending to feel good. A few soft movements will help you keep good posture on your mind.
6. Use Tools to Help
Still wanting more steps to improve your posture? There are a few tools that can assist with posture improvement. You can purchase electronic devices that sense when you slouch and vibrate to help you remember to sit up straight.
There are also shoulder harnesses that pull your shoulders back and help you maintain proper posture. You mustn’t overuse these tools or become too reliant on them. Your primary focus should be to improve your posture by building up your core strength, staying fit, and decreasing your sit-time.
Good posture is essential for building confidence, looking good, and for maintaining your back health. You may feel like you’re breathing deeper and discovering more energy with good posture. Whether it’s a mental trick or a physical improvement, you’ll feel better when you sit up tall and straight.
If your back is causing you discomfort, don’t ignore it or suffer through the pain. Contact our team at the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin today. We will help you find the way to a healthy, strong, and comfortable back!