5 tips for better posture
Posture can make a huge difference to your recovery from an injury or problem, and also the affects the chance of any problems coming back. If your posture is good, you have a better recovery and also minimise the risk or recurrence, and if it is bad, well, the opposite happens!
Here are 5 tips to help improve your posture:
1. Pick the ‘go to posture’ for your work
So it makes sense that if you are at work for 8 hours a day, and you are in the same office chair, you want to make sure that it is set up correctly for you! I keep on saying ‘for you’ because everyone is different, and you will need to modify the sitting position so it suits you best. Ideally for working on a computer, you want the top of the screen at your eye height, your elbows at desk height, and your hips slightly above your knees to minimise the bending strain on your lower back (if the knees are above the hips then it creates pressure on the base of the spine).
So get this set up to ensure even if you do nothing else, your posture won’t be as bad through the day as it could be! This step is damage limitation and once set up you can forget about it and enjoy the passive benefits.
2. The best posture is a varied posture
OK so forget what I said above! Well, some of it. The true ‘best posture’ isn’t going to be staying in the same position all morning – even if you have set up your desk and chair perfectly. The best solution is actually to have your default ‘go to’ set up as above, but then change the position of the chair or yourself throughout the day.
For changing the chair this is basically dictated by how many levers there are on the side. Learn what each of them does and make the most of it – try and find at least 2 other positions in addition to the one above.
For changing yourself this might be the option if you have a basic office chair without all of the gadgets, or if you are working from home i.e. at the kitchen table etc. The key here is to get your body into a few different positions to spread the load. If you cross your legs over one way, later on cross them over the other way. Instead of always crossing the legs one over the other get both feet on the floor flat and sit bolt upright for a few minutes. Basically you need to fidget without drawing too much attention to yourself.
Change the position of either your chair or yourself every 20-30 minutes throughout the day.
3. Make use of those shoulder rolls to minimise upper back and neck postural strains
A nice and simple one here that doesn’t impact on your work schedule. Ideally you would be going for a walk frequently or doing some stretches, however that isn’t practical when on a phone consultation or when you have a deadline to meet. So a simple one here is to roll the shoulder blades in circles from front to back 10-15 times as required (frequently throughout the day).
This movement loosens up tension between tight muscles, stretches the chest muscles back which are pulling you forwards, and also wakes up those muscles in between the shoulder blades. All good things for your neck and back.
4. Stretches for better posture
Now these are for when you have a bit of time either through the day, on lunch or at home. Stretching little and often with the shoulder rolls as mentioned above will help minimise tension from building up. But a shoulder roll is going to do nothing once the muscles and joints have physically developed tight knots and restrictions. These require a little bit more work.
- Quadriceps stretches – I call these the footballer’s stretch as it is the one you will most commonly see them doing where they grab their foot and pull it back to their bottom, stretching the quadriceps muscles and hip flexors on the front of the thigh. It is these set of muscles which can put strain on your lower back.
- Pectoral stretches – lying on your back take your arms to the sides at 90 degrees with your palms facing up. Take the hands higher over your head still on the floor until you feel the chest muscles pull slightly. Hold for 30-60 seconds whilst breathing deeply. Bring the arms down to your sides for a breath and then take them up and out again. Do this a few times to loosen the muscles gently.
5. Your sleeping position is also a posture to be aware of.
Posture isn’t just a position in which we sit. It is also how we hold ourselves up when walking, moving, driving etc. But if we think about the amount of time spent sleeping we want to make sure that this is also set up correctly – or at least as best as we can depending on where you end up whilst asleep!
Ideally try to sleep on your back or side. If you are sleeping on your side you want your head and neck to be in the mid line of your body. Too many pillows and you will have the neck pushed over to the side causing all sorts of compression. Too few and it does the same the other way.
The main rule is to not sleep on your front! Would you sit at 90 degrees to your desk for 8 hours? If you did do you think you would have a bad neck?
The down side of having Chiropractic treatment?
The importance of posture and the impact on your spine can be quite hidden, and the manipulations and corrections we can make to your spine can be so good in giving you a lot of relief that it lets you ‘get away’ with not having to do all of the above. However once we have made those corrections it is going to help tremendously if you add in as much as you can from the above 5 tips for a healthier spine.
As always if you need to see us for our professional opinion and help please check our availability for appointments here or give us a call.
Andrew Harlow – Derby Chiropractor
Andrew made me feel comfortable immediately, listening carefully and giving me time to explain my concerns. He asked questions to elicit the exact nature of my problems and after treatment gave me advice on how to avoid problems in the future, His understanding, patience, and holistic approach has ensured I got better after treatment and also am able to keep active and fit. - Kate Tollervey
I have seen a lot of people over the years and like Andrew’s approach as he is extremely logical and always finds the root cause of the problem. Very happy to be back on the golf course. - Sam Warrington
Andrew dealt with me in a professional manor and was incredibly knowledgeable and thorough in his treatment. Highly recommended. Thank you very much. - Christine Charles
I have been treated by him over the last 6 years and have always been very impressed. - Robert Cooper
Take a look at what we offer
Chiropractic means 'done by hand'. We assess the spine and joints for any stiffness or misalignment which can interfere with how the nerve signals travel to and from the body. When not working properly this can lead to altered movement, injuries and pain.Learn more
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Back pain, pelvic pain and sciatica during pregnancy are just a few common complaints we see in clinic. We have specific aproaches for the safe treatment of women, babies and children.Learn more
We use massage and sports massage - our sports massage therapist uses different techniques which are useful for when you need either relaxation, or firmer work on deeper tension - from postural strains or overuse in athletes.Learn more
Exercise therapy and muscular rehabilitation are key components for your full recovery. The primary aim is to either strengthen the area of complaint allowing it to heal, or if it has already been treated we prescribe exercises to help prevent recurrence.Learn more