6 Tips for Better Posture, Less Pain
Published on May 15, 2013 by Peter Tomala
Take a moment to analyze how you’re sitting right now (or before you read “posture” in the title). Are you slouched over your desk or slumped in your chair? Are your legs crossed or extended out in front of you? These are very common positions for students to be in during class. They may seem comfortable at first but you are putting your body under a great deal of stress that can lead to back pain, headaches and even scoliosis.
Imagine holding a ten pound bowling bowl straight overhead. The weight of the bowling ball travels down your arm and is dispersed throughout your body, allowing you to hold the ball in the air for quite a long time. Now imagine letting that ball travel a few inches forward. Your shoulder muscles now have to work extremely hard to hold that ball up. This is exactly what is happening in our bodies to hold our head up.
When we sit and stand with ideal posture, the weight of our head is balanced on our body so our neck muscles are helping with the job of holding it up. Once we allow our head to slip forward, our upper back and neck muscles have to fight to hold it up. We develop knots, or trigger points, that send pain to other body parts. Trigger points in the upper back can refer pain up into the head, a major reason for headaches. Similarly, having your legs crossed or extended out in front of you for long periods of time can lead to low back pain, which can cause leg pain.
It can be difficult to sit perfectly all of the time, but you can try and reset your posture often. Here are 6 tips that can help keep the pain away.
- Make yourself a note by your computer to remind you to sit up, or check in with yourself whenever you remember.
- Take a break every hour that you are at a desk or computer. Get up, move around, and stretch.
- Tilt your head back to allow your neck muscles to relax for a moment.
- Pull your arms back at your sides and squeeze your shoulder blades together. This helps stretch your chest and takes the pressure off your back muscles.
- Sit up tall and rotate from the waist side to side to stretch your low back.
- Talk to our massage therapy students or program chair about getting a free massage in the Broadview University student clinic.
By Rob Gibson, LMT, Massage Therapy Program Chair, Broadview University-West Jordan