Remember when your mother used to say things like, “Eat all your vegetables.” And, “Look both ways before you cross the street.” Well, let’s not forget her mantra, “Sit up straight!” I catch myself reminding my kids on daily basis too.
So many people today work in sedentary jobs that require them to sit for most of the workday. However, whether sitting at a desk, a football game, or in front of a television set, good posture is imperative to your spinal health. And poor postural habits are a leading contributor to neck and back pain.
It has been a concern of mine in the last few years to note even a more drastic change in the spinal presentation of youth and teenagers with reverse spinal curvature in the neck and accentuated curvature in the mid-back regions. While I consider that there are many reasons behind this, I would also stipulate that the introduction and utilisation of hand-held devices have something to do with this rapid change.
Checking Your Posture
Let’s take a look at how you’re sitting right at this moment.
- Are your feet flat on the floor, with your knees at a 90-degree angle?
- Are your buttocks, back, and shoulders up against the backrest of your chair?
- Does the chair you’re sitting on, provide enough lumbar support?
- Does the backrest fit into the natural curve of your spine?
- Are your shoulders relaxed and even, not hunched in a forward position?
- Is your bodyweight equally distributed across both hips?
- Are your knees level with or slightly higher than your hips?
If you answered “No” to any of these questions, you are probably exerting undue stress on your spine; this will eventually cause back pain.
Change How You Sit
Keep in mind that it is not a good idea to sit in the same position for more than 40 minutes. Chronic slouching can lead to semi-permanent postural and structural changes and may affect the discs between the vertebrae to cause them to bulge or become herniated.
Take the time to stand up and stretch your back and legs or take a short walk periodically. Australian Chiropractors’ Association has released a widget that can be downloaded for free on your computers to remind you every 30min to change your posture, take a mini-break, go for a walk or do some stretches. I highly regard this initiative.
If you’re already finding that back pain is creeping into your life, give us a call on 08 9379 3838.