Posture is very important both at home and at work. Your posture is a very valuable component of preventing or managing back pain while performing any activity. Incorrect posture while standing for long periods of time, sitting in an office chair, and driving are all common causes of back pain.
Maintaining the natural curve of the spine when standing promotes “good posture”. The human spine looks a little bit like an S from the side, and maintaining those two curves is important.
- Keep your head directly over the shoulders (i.e. “chest out, head back”)
-Keep the shoulders directly over the pelvis
-Tighten your core abdominal muscles
-Tuck in the buttocks
-Place the feet slightly apart, with one foot positioned slightly in front of the other and knees bent just a little bit (i.e., not locked).
If this posture is new it may feel strange at first, but after a while it will feel quite natural. If it feels too weak or tiring, use light weights or elastic bands to work the muscles between the shoulder blades (e.g. rhomboids and middle trapezius). It will quickly get easier.
If standing on a concrete floor is required at work, it is best to wear shoes with good support and cushioning. A rubber mat placed on the concrete floor will ease pressure on the back and enhance the favourable ergonomic conditions. Use a railing or box to prop one foot up while standing to help take pressure off the back. This standing position takes some practice. Remember to change feet and positions every 20 minutes.
Modify your sitting posture in the office chair. Many people sit towards the front of their chair and end up hunching forward to look at their computer screen. The better seated posture is to sit back in the office chair and utilise the chair’s lumbar support to keep the head and neck in a natural alignment.
Adjusting your office chair so that the work surface is “elbow high”. A fist should be able to pass easily behind the calf and in front of the seat edge to keep the back of the legs from being pressed too hard and the feet from swelling. Two fingers should slip easily under each thigh. If not, use a couple of telephone books or a footrest to raise the knees level with the hips. The backrest of the office chair should push the low back forward slightly. If these adjustments cannot be adequately made with the existing office chair, a different make or type of chair may be considered.
Taking regular stretch breaks and walking breaks if sitting in an office chair for long periods of time you will be more productive in your work and much happier without the PAIN.