Back pain is not at all good. It causes so much trouble, not just physically, but also financially. According to Mayo clinic, back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work, and it is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Back pain can range from a muscle aching to a shooting, burning or stabbing sensation. In addition, the pain may radiate down your leg or worsen with bending, twisting, lifting, standing or walking. Having a good posture eases back pain. Good posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit and lie so as to place the least strain on muscles and ligaments while you are moving or performing weight-bearing activities.
Whether when you are sitting or standing, improving one's posture is the simplest way to ease back pain. Here’s how you can improve your posture in general:
- Be mindful of your posture during everyday activities, like watching television, washing dishes, or walking
- Stay active. Any kind of exercise may help improve your posture, but certain types of exercises can be especially helpful. They include yoga, tai chi, and other classes that focus on body awareness. It is also a good idea to do exercises that strengthen your core (muscles around your back, abdomen, and pelvis).
- Maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight can weaken your abdominal muscles, cause problems for your pelvis and spine, and contribute to low back pain. All of these can hurt your posture.
- Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes. High heels, for example, can throw off your balance and force you to walk differently. This puts more stress on your muscles and harms your posture.
- Make sure work surfaces are at a comfortable height for you, whether you're sitting in front of a computer, making dinner, or eating a meal.
How can I improve my posture when sitting?
- Switch sitting positions often
- Take brief walks around your office or home
- Gently stretch your muscles every so often to help relieve muscle tension
- Don't cross your legs; keep your feet on the floor, with your ankles in front of your knees
- Make sure that your feet touch the floor, or if that's not possible, use a footrest
- Relax your shoulders; they should not be rounded or pulled backwards
- Keep your elbows in close to your body. They should be bent between 90 and 120 degrees.
- Make sure that your back is fully supported. Use a back pillow or other back support if your chair does not have a backrest that can support your lower back's curve.
- Make sure that your thighs and hips are supported. You should have a well-padded seat, and your thighs and hips should be parallel to the floor.
How can I improve my posture when standing?
- Stand up straight and tall
- Keep your shoulders back
- Pull your stomach in
- Put your weight mostly on the balls of your feet
- Keep your head level
- Let your arms hang down naturally at your sides
- Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart
We sometimes ignore back pain, for we know that it will just be gone after a day or two by just applying a pain relief patch, but we should know our body well. If we ever experience back pain and already tried some home treatments like applying ointment to the pain area, drinking pain relief medicines, and trying all back supports and nothing happens. Maybe it's our sign to consult a doctor to be given the prescribed treatment that we need. And also, having a good rest is one helpful way to ease the pain.
NO I Zamubec Alomar C. Adlawan, RND
- Back pain
- Guide to good posture