Everyday we place our spine and lower back under unnecessary stress, through poor posture while standing, sitting, bending or lifting. Here are some pointers to help maintain correct posture and reduce stress on the lower back during daily activities.
- When sitting or standing, maintain good posture by keeping the back straight and upright, stomach tight, chest out, shoulders pinned back and chin up. Continuously regaining posture helps exercise and strengthens the core postural muscles. Placing red stickers on computers, or desks at work, the car rear view mirror and on the fridge at home is one helpful method I find for reminding individuals to regain awareness of correct posture.
- Bending and lifting are activities continuously performed throughout the day. To ensure correct bending technique remember, with a straight back, bend at the hips while bending your knees. When lifting, hold the object close to your body and stand up the same way you bent down. Keeping the feet shoulder width apart also creates greater stability through a wider base of support. This will also distribute the weight evenly across the body making the object easier to lift. Never twist while lifting, position the object to be lifted directly in front of you.
- Constantly sitting and standing in one position for an extended period of fatigues your core muscles causing poor posture. This in turn applies stress to the lower back and spine. An ideal way of reducing this type of stress is through movement. After 15-20 minutes of sitting at a desk or in a car, it is a good idea to break free from this tiresome position (if possible) and walk around for a minute or two giving the body a light stretch.
Later this week we will have more tips on posture and how to do your own posture check.
Dr. Sheila Hubscher, B.Sc D.C.