Poor posture can develop over time due to habits like sitting in office chairs, staring at the computer, holding a phone, carrying a purse over the same shoulder, standing for a long time, driving, babysitting, or even sleeping.
Poor posture can easily become habitual, creating and exacerbating back and neck pain and causing damage to spinal structures. The key elements impacting posture and ergonomics, fortunately, are totally within one's control and are not difficult to adjust.
The following tips will help you improve your posture and ergonomics, especially if you spend most of your day sitting in an office chair.
1. Watch for the Warning Signs
Back pain may be caused by poor ergonomics and posture if the pain is worse at certain times of day or week (for example, after sitting in front of a computer all day, but not on weekends). Watch out for pain that begins in the neck and flows downwards into the upper back, lower back, and extremities. Also, pain that disappears after switching positions and sudden intense back pain are signs you need supplements for joint pain or a better chair.
2. Use Ergonomic Tools
Ergonomic "props" that support the spine can aid in relieving strain and stress on the spine. At work, ergonomic office chairs or chairs with adjustable backrests can be employed.
While sitting in an office chair, on soft furniture, or while driving, footrests, portable lumbar back supports, or even a towel or small cushion can be employed.
Using purses, bags, and backpacks designed to reduce back strain can also impact healthy posture. Proper corrective eyewear and computer screen alignment to your natural, resting eye position can also help to minimize leaning or straining the neck with the head tilted forward.
3. Move Around At Work
As muscles tire, poor posture like slouching or slumping becomes more common, putting additional strain on the neck and back. Change postures regularly to maintain a relaxed but supported posture. One method is to take a two-minute break from sitting in an office chair every half hour to stretch, stand, or walk.
4. Exercise At Home
Walking, swimming, or bicycling regularly helps keep the body aerobically conditioned, while particular strengthening workouts will keep the muscles surrounding the back strong. These exercise effects encourage healthy posture, which in turn helps to condition muscles and avoid injury.
There are also particular workouts that might help you keep your posture in good shape. A balance of core and back muscle strength is especially important for supporting the upper body and maintaining proper posture.
5. Wear the Right Footwear
Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes or boots on a daily basis since they might alter the body's center of gravity and cause your body to compensate with poor alignment, negatively compromising back support and posture.
Propping a leg up on a footrest, wearing supportive shoe orthotics, or placing a rubber mat on the floor can increase comfort when standing for lengthy amounts of time.
6. Watch Your Alignment
When standing, distribute your body weight evenly between the front, rear, and sides of your feet. Utilize the functions of your office chair while sitting in it. Sit up straight and make a vertical line with your ears, shoulders, and hips. Any prolonged sitting position, even if it is a nice one, can be exhausting. Shifting forward to the edge of the seat with a straight back can be alternated with sitting back against the back support of the office chair to relieve back muscle strain.
Some people benefit from the balanced posture obtained by sitting on an exercise ball; in this position, the pelvis is softly rocked forward, enhancing the lumbar curve and automatically shifting the shoulders back.
Be mindful of and avoid unbalanced postures such as crossing your legs unevenly while sitting, leaning to one side, hunching forward, or tilting your head.
7. Be Care Not to Over Protect
Keep in mind that it is critical to keep a relaxed general posture. Avoid limiting your motions by clenching your muscles or adopting an uncomfortable, inflexible posture. Individuals who already experience back or neck pain have a natural tendency to minimize their movements in order to prevent exacerbating the pain.
However, unless there is a fracture or other significant condition, the structures in the spine are meant for mobility, and any limitation in motion over time causes greater discomfort and a downward cycle of less motion and more pain.
With a few adjustments to your posture and equipment, you can feel better at work in no time.