Ah back pain, the dismal companion of so many working adults. Whether we sit at a desk all day, planning advertising campaigns or doing research, or if we stand behind a sales counter smiling at strangers… Chances are our backs have had it. Unfortunately, there’s only so much ibuprofen and a heating pad can do. In order to fix the problem, we have to go to the source, our posture. Are you even aware of it? Think about how you’re sitting. Is your head pushed forward slightly, leaning over a desk, phone, or tablet? Are your shoulders hunched forward? Is there a downward curvature to your spine as you sit? Guess what! You’re doing it wrong.
There are four common posture problems, head down, shoulders hunched, slouching, and a sunken chest. Sound familiar? The good news is, correcting your posture will fix a whole host of additional symptoms you probably didn’t realize were connected, including:
- Muscle fatigue
- Back and neck pain
- Stiffness in neck or back
- Pain in knees or hips
- Acid reflux
- Difficulty breathing
Keep your head up
Obviously we need to turn our heads to look at things, but if you’re constantly looking down, that puts a strain on your neck and back. The human head can weigh up to 11 pounds. Thats a lot of additional weight when it isn’t supported correctly. Instead of looking down at things, try to bring them up to eye level. Hold your phone up in front of your face, or put some books under your computer monitor to bring it higher. Look with your eyes more if necessary. Keep your ears between your shoulder blades, and your neck straight. Make sure not to crane your head backwards too far.
Straighten your shoulders
When we slouch our shoulders create a crescent shape. This strains your shoulders and neck. Imagine a bar is going into the top of one arm, and out the other. Visualizing things like that is an easy way to make correct adjustments. Don’t bunch your shoulders up toward your ears either. When sitting correctly, they will be relaxed, and in a straight line across.
This is a two-fold fix. With a lowered and and curved shoulders, the spine will be in an exaggerated S shape. Pull yourself all the way up. If you raise your head and straighten your shoulders, you’re already halfway to the correct position. Don’t strain too hard. Standing and sitting correctly should feel good. If it doesn’t, there’s something else that needs fixing.
Pull your chest up
This is probably one you didn’t even realize. While slouching, our chest is pulled in, and our bellies stick out. This contributes to the acid reflux and breathing problems, as the chest cavity is compressed, making it more difficult for everything to function properly. A good way to visualize this correction is: imagine a big hook under your breastbone, and it’s pulling you up. Sound weird? Try it. You’ll notice that your shoulders and back will straighten, and your head will come up. Additionally, it’ll be easier to breathe, because there’s more room in your chest cavity now.
And that’s it! If you take these steps and are still having problems, there may be permanent damage, or an underlying issue. Give the urgent care a call and we will get you sorted!