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Looking after your back is vital whether you have pain or not. To change poor posture habits takes time and effort to re-educate your own awareness of where your spine is in space. Once acquired, whether sitting, standing or walking you will dramatically reduce your chances of back or neck problems. Imagine a number of building blocks. To make a tall stable tower, each brick must fit
squarely on top of the one below. Your spine works exactly the same except the ‘bricks’ (or vertebrae) which carry the weight are wedge shaped, forming a natural hollow curve at waist level in the lower back and also in the neck region. We call this hollow ‘lordosis’. If you flatten the curve in your back in any position, you are in effect bending forward and consequently putting your back structures on constant stretch. This is particularly pronounced in sitting. Modern day settees and chairs encourage slouching, and comfortable though it may seem initially, sustained sitting
in this position gradually stretches and strains normal tissue to the extent of causing pain.
Correct sitting posture
1. Check that your seat is at the right height. Your knees should be lower than your hips. Your feet should be either on the floor or on a footrest. This will reduce strain on your hips and back so you will be more comfortable.
2. Now check your sitting posture:
• Put your bottom into the back of the seat – this will put your pelvis in a good position.
• Now lean forward and put a rolled up towel behind your back. Sit back so the towel is supporting your back at waist level. You may need to adjust the towel making it thinner or flatter to suit you. You should always sit with a towel or foam roll supporting your back particularly in positions which encourage leaning forward e.g. sitting at a desk, computer screen work etc. This maintains your lordosis. When the lordosis is maintained by either your own muscular effort or by a firm supportive roll, the chances of damaging your back are greatly reduced. Try to raise the top of your chest up towards the ceiling – this will create the natural ‘S’ shape in your spine and stop any slouching.
• Tuck in your chin to make a double chin.
• Now very slightly relax this position for comfort.
When you stand up, give your back a nice stretch by putting your hands on your lower back and leaning gently backwards.
Correct Standing Posture
1. Make sure that the weight of your body is in the middle of your feet, not through the toes or heels.
2. Keep the tummy gently pulled in.
3. The shoulder blades should be very slightly pulled together.
4. Tuck the chin in.
5. Relax slightly for comfort.