Our every day practices and posture have a huge effect on our health! Over time, poor posture can lead to back pain and structural spine damage. Every day activities like sitting at desk, standing for long periods, and even sleeping positions can affect your posture. It’s important to practice ergonomic techniques to correct poor posture and improve your health.
Here are 5 tips to become more ergonomically conscious:
- Recognize your pain and its origin. Back pain can be a result of poor ergonomics and posture, so start to take notice if your pain worsens during certain parts of the day or week. Many people experience pain after a long week working behind a desk and have less noticeable pain over the weekends. Also take note of where the pain is occurring, if it’s in the neck and upper back, lower back and extremities, etc. Sudden back pain can also occur if there has been a recent change in your environment like a new car, office chair, or job.
- Practice keeping your body in alignment. Whether sitting at an office chair or standing, distribute your weight evenly from front to back and side to side. Try to establish equanimity in any setting. If you are sitting in an office chair, take advantage of the chair’s features and structure. Use the back support to relieve tension in your back muscles, rather than slouching forward. Sit up straight and align the ears, shoulders, and hips in one vertical line. Avoid unbalanced postures, like leaning forward, to one side, or crossing the legs unevenly.
- Take breaks and move. Realize that even a good posture will becoming tiring for the muscles, creating a tendency to slouch and exhibit poor posture. Be conscious of your posture and change positions frequently to avoid these bad habits. If possible, give yourself a 2 minute break every 30 minutes or so to get up, walk around, and stretch your muscles. This will also increase your flow of oxygen and energy levels throughout the day.
- Use props and ergonomically designed chairs. Many office chairs are designed ergonomically to have adjusting back rests and other features that can aid in your comfort in an office setting. The use of foot rests and lumbar supports can also be helpful. Even something as simple as a towel or pillow behind the lower back while working or driving can aid in correcting posture. Also, adjust your computer monitor to rest more at your comfortable eye level so that you’re not straining your posture to see the screen.
- Stay comfortable! It can be tempting, especially for those suffering from back pain, to try to overprotect posture and limit motion. Unless there is a serious injury involved, try not to clench or stiffen muscles, as this will lead to awkward and unnatural postures. Remember that you should always maintain a comfortable, balanced posture.