Improve Posture

Improve Posture

Pay attention to the position of your back in everyday situations. How you sit, stand, move, and sleep can make a difference in how much back pain you have. Good posture is kind to your back.

Conditions: Back pain

Symptoms: Pain, stiffness, aching, burning, muscle pain when standing, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain,  buttock numbness,  pinched nerve, posture problems, difficulty sitting down, difficulty standing, stooped posture, difficulty sleeping, symptoms worse in AM, symptoms worse in evening, unrefreshing sleep, aching, back pain, pain worse in AM, pain when standing, pain with movement

Triggers:

Treatments:

Categories:  Treatment

Duration

14

Upright Posture

Your mother was right. Good posture decreases stress and strain in your body and helps prevent fatigue.

From the side: Your earlobe, the tip of your shoulder, your hip, your knee, and your ankle should make a straight line, separating the front of your body from the back.

From the front: Your shoulders and hips should be level, your kneecaps facing ahead, your ankles straight, head not tilted.

Check yourself throughout the day and adjust. (Your mom was also right about practice makes perfect.)

Practice “standing tall” and breathing from your diaphragm.  Not only is this good for body is does wonders for appearance.

Prompt: Stand up straight!

CTA: Align the spine, prevent pain.

Conditions: Back pain

Symptoms: pain, sharp pain, shocking pain, numbness, tingling, difficulty sleeping, weakness, stiffness, anxiety, depression, aching, burning, muscle pain, pain when standing, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain, stooped posture, posture problems, symptoms worse in evening, aching, back pain, pain with standing, Pain with movement

Triggers: exercising, heavy lifting, lying down, pushing or pulling repetitive motions, twisting, overdoing it, sitting too long, standing too long, using machinery, vibration, injury, workplace injury, anxiety, stress, poor posture

Treatments: muscle strengthening, stretching, improve posture

Categories: Treatment

Take a Stand

If you have to stand for long periods, here are some things you can do to help protect your back:

* Wear comfortable, supportive shoes.

* Bend your knees slightly.

* Keep one foot slightly forward or on a footrest.

* Avoid hard surfaces. Use a rug or pad.

Prompt:  Take a stand.

CTA:  Protect your back from fatigue.

Conditions: back pain

Symptoms: Pain, weakness, stiffness, aching, burning, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain,  buttock numbness, foot pain, sharp pain, shocking pain, numbness, tingling, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, depression, aching, burning, muscle pain, pain when standing, stooped posture, posture problems, symptoms worse in evening, aching, back pain

Triggers: exercising, heavy lifting, lying down, pushing or pulling repetitive motions, twisting, overdoing it, sitting too long, standing too long, using machinery, vibration, injury, workplace injury, anxiety, stress, poor posture

Treatments: muscle strengthening, stretching, improve posture

Categories: Treatment

Sitting Posture

Having the perfect chair won't matter if you aren't sitting in it properly. Try to keep your body in a neutral position. Changing positions frequently, however, reduces stress to joints and ligaments:

* Back is supported and you sit upright or recline slightly.

* Head is in line with your torso.

* Shoulders are relaxed, upper arms close to your body.

* Elbows are bent, putting your forearms about parallel to the floor.

* Knees at about the same height as your hips or slightly higher.

If you're sitting for a long time, don't forget to stretch, stand up, and take breaks, too.

Prompt: Sitting pretty?

CTA: Check your form, minimize strain.

Conditions: back pain

Symptoms: pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, stiffness, aching, burning, muscle pain, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain, pinched nerve, difficulty sitting down, symptoms worse in evening, aching, back pain, pain

Triggers: exercising, twisting, overdoing it, sitting too long injury, workplace injury, anxiety, stress, craning neck, desk work, poor posture

Treatments: stretching, improve posture

Categories: Treatment

Chair Features

Your choice of seating can assist good posture and reduce back pain.

* Check that the backrest provides lumbar support and maintains the natural curve of your spine.

* Chair should adjust allowing it to recline versus static in upright position.

* Adjust the seat height so your feet rest flat on the floor.

* Avoid low, soft seats where your hips drop below your knees.

* Look for a seat size that comfortably fits your hips, allows you to use the backrest, and almost (but doesn't) touch the back of your knees.

* Make sure armrests allow your shoulders to relax.

Prompt:  Take a seat.

CTA:  Choose a comfortable chair.

Conditions: back pain

Symptoms: pain, sharp pain, numbness, tingling, stiffness, aching, burning, muscle pain, lower back pain, upper back pain, pinched nerve, difficulty sitting down, symptoms worse in evening, aching, back pain, pain

Triggers: repetitive motions, twisting, overdoing it, sitting too long, injury, workplace injury, anxiety, stress, craning neck, desk work, poor posture

Treatments:  stretching, improve posture, stretching

Categories: Treatment

Work Wisely

It doesn't matter if you're working at an office, doing a hobby, preparing dinner, or eating a meal. Arrange your work area to help you maintain good posture.

The work surface -- whether a desk, table, or countertop -- should be slightly above your waist, so whatever you're doing is at elbow height. If you're seated, your thighs should easily fit underneath. Get close to the edge of the work surface so you're less tempted to lean over or there is no need to reach.

Prompt:  Work wisely.

CTA:  Set up your space to make it easy.

Conditions: back pain

Symptoms: Pain, stiffness, aching, burning, muscle pain, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain,  buttock numbness,  pinched nerve, posture problems, difficulty sitting down, difficulty standing, stooped posture, symptoms worse in evening, back pain, pain when standing

Triggers: repetitive motions, twisting, overdoing it, sitting too long, standing too long, using machinery, vibration, injury, workplace injury, anxiety, stress, poor posture

Treatments: muscle strengthening, stretching, improve posture

Categories: treatments

Rest Easy

You spend several hours in bed, so make sure you're taking care of your back there, too.

A firm mattress is best to support your back and body, although it may take some getting used to if you've been sleeping on a softer surface. Using a pillow or feather topper on a firm mattress can help fill natural body contours allowing you the support of a good mattress with the softness of the topper for comfort.

Try to sleep in a position that keeps your spine in the same shape as proper standing posture -- on your back with knees bent or with a lumbar support, or on your side with knees slightly bent.

To prevent back strain, avoid sleeping on a sagging mattress.

Prompt:  Sweet dreams.

CTA:   Get a better night's sleep.

Conditions: back pain

Symptoms: pain, sharp pain, numbness, tingling, difficulty sleeping, weakness, stiffness, aching, burning, muscle pain, pain when standing, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain, pinched nerve, symptoms worse in AM, unrefreshing sleep, back pain, pain worse in AM,

Triggers: lying down, overtiredness, not sleeping enough, sleeping too much

Treatments: firmer mattress, sleep hygiene

Categories: Treatment

Make Adjustments

A little adjustment might turn an uncomfortable situation into a bearable one.

* A small pillow, rolled-up towel, or stuffed tube sock for lumbar support when sitting or sleeping on your back

* A pillow between your knees when sleeping on your side, or under them when on your back

* Extra padding on armrests that are too low; scoot under desk so you can tilt your chair back slightly and reach the keyboard with your elbows resting on armrests at your side.

* A firm cushion or padding to soften a hard surface or to raise the height of a low seat

* A footrest or a stack of books under your feet for support

Prompt:  A little help.

CTA:   Modify your surroundings if needed.

Conditions: back pain

Symptoms: pain, sharp pain, numbness, tingling, difficulty sleeping, weakness, stiffness, aching, burning, muscle pain, pain when standing, pain with movement, lower back pain, upper back pain, pinched nerve, posture problems, difficulty sitting down, symptoms worse in AM, symptoms worse in evening, unrefreshing sleep, back pain, pain worse in Am, pain worse in evening

Triggers: exercising, heavy lifting, lying down, pushing or pulling repetitive motions, twisting, overdoing it, sitting too long, standing too long, using machinery, vibration, injury, workplace injury, anxiety, stress, craning neck, twisting, desk work, lying down, not sleeping enough, overtiredness, sleeping too much, poor posture

Treatments: sleep hygiene, occupational therapy, firmer mattress

Categories: Treatment

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Ross Brakeville, DPT on June 02, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

American Physical Therapy Association: "The Secret of Good Posture."

Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services: "Joint Protection."

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons: "Low Back Pain," "Preventing Back Pain at Work and at Home."

Cleveland Clinic: "Posture for a Healthy Back."

U.S. Department of Labor: "Computer Workstations: Good Working Positions;" "Computer Workstations: Chairs;" and "Sewing Station Design."

North American Spine Society. Back Pain Basics, 2007.

National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke: "Low Back Pain Fact Sheet."

The Better Sleep Council: "The Better Sleep Guide."

© 2016 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.