- By now, we know that backache is not only a concern of older people, people with a back injury or a congenital condition. Sitting at the computer on the 9 to 5 job has become a widespread cause of backache. Slouching on your seat while reading a book, pulling an all-nighter at your desk to finish your overdue presentation or being a couch potato and playing games for long hours add to the list of causes too. While the hot packs, balms, painkillers and massages help you deal with the pain, try to maintain the correct posture to keep the pain from coming back. You know you are maintaining a proper posture when the vertebrae or the bones of your spine are aligned. The following tips will help you maintain an appropriate position at all times:
- Upper body stretches: Before you head to the pantry to heat up your lunch, do the upper body stretch. Face a corner and stand with your arms raised. Keep one foot ahead of the other. Hold your arms flat against the walls with your shoulders at elbow height. Bend your knee forward and lean your body towards the corner. Keep your head and chest up, your back straight and exhale as you do this. Hold the position for about 30 seconds and relax. You will feel a good stretch across your chest.
- Standing posture: Let’s say you are standing in a line waiting to get your coffee. Put this time to good use. Imagine a straight line starting from the ceiling passing through your body and touching the floor. As you imagine the line, make sure your knees, hips, shoulders, ears and ankles are even and lined up vertically with the line. Think of a cord attached to your head that is pulling you upward, making you seem taller. Now, resist the urge to tiptoe, allow your lower back to sway and keep your pelvic region steady. As your head moves upwards, increase the distance between your ribcage and pelvis. Imagine your posture to be like that of an ice skater or a ballerina instead of an army cadet at attention.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades: Take a two-minute breather from typing on your computer and sit back. Sit up straight and place your hands on your thighs. Bring your chin and shoulders to the same level. Next step, gently draw your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Now freeze in this position and count 5, relax and repeat. Do this activity three to four times a day.
- Arm-across-the-chest stretch: As soon as you step out of the boardroom after a long meeting, head to your desk and take a minute to do the arm-across-the-chest stretch. Raise your left arm to your shoulder level in front of you and bend it at the elbow with the forearm parallel to the floor. Now, hold your upper left arm and slowly pull it across your chest. You will feel a stretch in the shoulder and upper portion of your left arm. Repeat the process with your right arm. Hold the stretch for about 20 seconds and release both arms. Repeat the stretches in both arms at least three times.
- Sitting posture: Sitting appropriately helps maintain the right alignment of your body. So, when you sit to complete your overdue files, make sure to sit correctly. Firstly, let go of the hunch. The hunched over position disrupts the spine’s natural curves. Sit straight on your upright chair and keep your feet flat on the ground. This will help realign the curves of your spine. Ensure that your chin is parallel to the floor. Keep your shoulders relaxed and keep a pillow or a rolled towel at your back to maintain the normal lumbar or lower back curve.
Furthermore, to make sure you have the right posture, keep the following tips in your mind:
- Sleep on a comfortable and firm mattress.
- Maintain a healthy body mass index.
- Keep a watch over your posture throughout the day and keep realigning yourself regularly.
- If you need to stand for long periods while washing dishes, standing at a podium, or ironing your clothes, rest one foot on a box, stool or a low ledge.
- Get up and move around once every hour or 30 minutes or shift positions while being seated. It will avoid muscle fatigue that comes from remaining in one position for a long time.
- Keep your laptop screen or hold the book you are reading at eye level.
- Exercise regularly as it promotes flexibility and strength in the back and abdominal muscles.
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