Correct posture for back pain is not to keep the spine as straight as possible, but to maintain its natural curvature (forward bending of the cervical and lumbar spine and backward bending of the thoracic spine).
Poor posture does not depend on muscle strength, so exercises to strengthen the back muscles are of no benefit.
The correct posture when standing
For a correct posture when standing, the following points must be observed:
- Placing body weight primarily on the front of the foot instead of on the heels can support the arch of the lumbar spine.
- Feet should be shoulder-width apart.
- The shoulders are relaxed and point back.
- The body weight is evenly distributed on both feet.
- The toes point slightly outwards, a parallel position does not correspond to the natural position.
- The head should not hang forward or to the side or be turned.
- The knees are stretched.
- The chin should not be pushed forward.
- If you have to stand for a long time, you should alternately place one foot on a small stool or repeatedly shift your weight from one foot to the other.
Young people and adults usually do not need a bandage or corset to correct posture, this is only necessary in rare cases.
Running can be painful for runners who suffer from back pain due to a herniated disc, but in other cases (pain is caused by muscle contractures, arthrosis or organs such as the kidneys) there are no contraindications.
Posture while driving
When sitting, the back rests firmly against the backrest, which offers ideal support.
The seat must have the correct distance from the pedals and steering wheel so that they are easy to reach and prevent you from leaning forward.
When the arm is stretched out, the wrist must be level with the steering wheel.
Your hands should grip the top of the steering wheel as if showing the time 10 past 10.
The neck should be leaning against the headrest and in a vertical position.
The car seats should appropriately support the lumbar region so that the back can relax.
The correct posture when sitting
Here are some tips for correct posture when sitting:
The chair should be seated at a height where both feet are on the floor and knees are at hip height. It would be even better to put your feet on a footstool or something similar.
- Elbows should have a 75° – 90° bend.
- Lean your back against the backrest.
- It is advisable to place a small pillow or rolled up towel in the lumbar region; The McKenzie lumbar rolls are particularly recommended for this, because they can be tied to the backrest with the help of a belt and thus fixed at the right height.
The cushion must not lie on the seat, but is positioned above the hips.
- Keep your neck straight without tensing your muscles.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed and rest your arms on the armrests or the edge of the table.
- When the shoulders are raised or the back is hunched, the chest muscles and diaphragm shorten and lose their elasticity.
- The chair should be fitted with wheels so that the back is not strained.
- When sitting for a long time, for example on an office chair, it should be checked that it is an ergonomic chair that has appropriate back support and does justice to the individual body dimensions.
- Take a short break once every hour and get up, going to the toilet can be enough.
While correct posture should be normal, it can be uncomfortable and cause muscle pain when attempting to correct long-standing poor posture while sitting and standing.
Posture can be improved at any age.
Prevention for herniated disc and muscle strain
In order to avoid muscle tension , one must not constantly keep the body bent to one side. A herniated disc can occur even if the person sits upright all the time. Many truck drivers suffer from herniated discs because they drive 12 hours a day and their core muscles are wasting; consequently, the spine lacks muscular support. When sitting upright (without a lumbar roll), all of the weight is discharged onto the spine; On the other hand, if you lean backwards while sitting, the weight will also be carried by the backrest.
Parents often chastise their children for adopting an odd position between sitting and lying down, but technically, that posture is pretty correct.
Examples of bad posture
The following examples of bad and unergonomic posture should definitely be corrected:
- Never push your head forward (protrusion).
- The telephone receiver should not be clamped between the head and shoulder.
- Do not hold your head up or down.
- Do not lean your torso forward without being supported by the backrest.
- Avoid letting your buttocks slide forward on the seat, like lounging on the sofa.
Racing bike and mountain bike
There is a common belief that the posture you assume when riding a bike can cause muscle strain in the lumbar region and aggravate a herniated disc.
When cycling, most of the body weight is supported on the arms, the back muscles are tight when pedaling; the spine is therefore stable and there is no risk of the intervertebral disc shifting, even when driving over uneven asphalt. Tense muscles in the lower back can occur on the incline, especially when the athlete is standing up.
As a result, people with back pain don’t have to give up their road bikes, while mountain biking on rough terrain can be critical if the lumbar spine already has problems.
Sleeping on your side
The sleeping position we usually assume at night, along with other factors such as weight and gender, can be a trigger for back pain.
Poor sleeping posture can also worsen existing back pain.
If the bed is not able to support the body properly, it can cause discomfort, resulting in problems sleeping and poor nights sleep.
The ideal sleeping position is on your side, with your hips and knees drawn in and at right angles (90°).
In this position, since there is insufficient support for the leg on top, the knee tends to slide forward onto the mattress , rotating the lumbar spine.
This twisting can lead to back or hip pain .
A pillow between the knee and thigh can solve this problem.
Sleeping on your back
If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees to support the natural curvature of your lumbar spine. In addition, a small rolled up towel can be placed under the lumbar area. The neck must also be supported by a small pillow (or rolled up towel) so that the cervical spine is higher than the neck. There are pillows (like McKenzie ‘s ) that fit into a regular pillowcase and maintain the natural curve of the neck.
Sleeping on stomach
Sleeping on your stomach can be very painful for your back; if you cannot sleep in any other position, you should use a pillow to elevate your lower abdomen and pelvis, thereby relieving tension on your back. Put a pillow under your head if it doesn’t put too much stress on your back; otherwise you can sleep without a pillow.
If the mattress is too soft, back pain can occur. This also applies to a mattress that is too hard. You have to try a little to find the right degree of hardness for your own body. A plywood panel between the spring base and the mattress can help if the bed is too soft. A thin, soft mattress, on the other hand, can cushion a mattress that is too hard.
Back-friendly lifting and carrying
Do not lift objects if they are too heavy for your body.
Lift the loads from a crouch and not over your back.
Tighten your abdominal muscles to keep your core balanced.
If necessary, put on a support belt so that correct posture can also be guaranteed during the lifting process.
A large and heavy object should be held close to the body at chest level with your back straight.
If the load is carried with one hand, the hand should be changed more frequently.
If a bag is transported, it should not be packed full; it also makes sense to distribute the load over both hands.
Do not bend your trunk forward or arch your back when carrying a backpack.
If the load is too heavy, using a transport trolley can help.
Pregnant women need to pull their shoulders back to balance the weight of their abdomen; when lifting a weight, you need to pay close attention to your posture.
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