Everyday activities such as sitting on office chairs, standing, sleeping or carrying a bag on the same shoulder can cause poor posture. Poor posture can create pain issues in your neck, back, and shoulders. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to improve your posture. By making a few adjustments, you can address poor posture and eliminate the pain caused by it.
How to make posture a good habit
1. Keep your body aligned while sitting and standing
Sit up straight while in a chair, keep your hips, shoulders and ears aligned in one vertical line. Try to avoid crossing your legs, hunching shoulders or looking down at your screen. Sitting on a balance ball can help improve your posture by using your natural balance. When standing, distribute your body weight evenly between the front, back and sides of the feet. Being aware of how you are holding your body and taking the time to adjust throughout the day will help keep your posture in check.
2. Utilize posture friendly props and chairs
- Minimize back strain by using bags or backpacks that are designed to evenly distribute weight and reduce back strain.
- Avoid straining your neck with proper placement of your computer screen. Purchasing a monitor shelf that raises the screen to eye level will help reduce strain on your neck.
- Using lumbar back pillows when sitting or driving can create ergonomic support for your lower back and ease the strain on your overall body.
3. Take a break and move!
Slouching is a result of your muscles tiring and is where poor posture becomes more likely, resulting in extra pressure on the neck and back. Take a break every 30 minutes for two minutes and stretch, stand or walk.
4. Wear supportive footwear when standing
High-heeled shoes change the body’s centre of gravity and negatively affect back support and posture. Choose supportive shoes when you know you will be standing for extended periods of time. For those in jobs that require standing for an entire shift, supportive orthotics may be necessary.
5. Think good posture when lifting
When lifting, maintain good back posture to avoid injury. Good back posture includes looking forward, bending at the knee and keeping your back straight. Back injuries are commonly caused by twisting or lifting and occur during awkward movements.
6. Keep good posture while sleeping
If you are waking with a sore back or neck, there are many things to consider posture-wise while sleeping that could help:
- Choose a firm mattress for the best back support
- Sleeping on your side or back is better on your spine than stomach sleeping
- If you sleep on your side, placing a flat pillow in between your knees will keep your spine straight
- Use a pillow that provides proper alignment. You don’t want your head to be tilted upwards or downwards but in a neutral position.
7. Try and adopt an overall relaxed posture
There is such a thing as trying too hard. Keeping your body in a stiff, unnatural position to maintain good posture can create more pain as tense muscles put your body out of alignment. Keeping your body relaxed will lead to less stiffness over time.
There are many ways to help yourself when it comes to improving your posture. If you find you need assistance, your physiotherapist can design a customized treatment plan for you to get your body properly aligned again.