Author DR.TABASSUM ALI (PT)
BPT(Utkal),MPT (ORTHO)HNB Garhwal
Dr Tabassum Ali is a renowned Physiotherapist .She is an freelance writer too .We thank Dr Tabassum for the very useful article for our readers.
Correct posture is a simple but very important way to keep many inner structures in the back and spine healthy.
It is much more than cosmetic – good posture and back support are critical to reducing the incidence and levels
of back pain and neck pain. Back support is especially important for patients who spend many hours sitting in
an office chair or standing throughout the day.
PROBLEMS CAUSED BY POOR BACK SUPPORT AND POSTURE
Not maintaining good posture and adequate back support can add strain to muscles and put stress on the spine.
Over time, the stress of poor posture can change the anatomical characteristics of the spine, leading to the
possibility of constricted blood vessels and nerves, as well as problems with muscles, discs and joints. All of
these can be major contributors to back and neck pain, as well as headaches, fatigue, and possibly even
concerns with major organs and breathing.
WHAT IS A GOOD POSTURE
Basically, having correct posture means keeping each part of the body in alignment with the neighboring parts.
Proper posture keeps all parts balanced and supported. With appropriate posture (when standing) it should be
possible to draw a straight line from the earlobe, through the shoulder, hip, knee and into the middle of the
ankle. Because people find themselves in several positions throughout the day (sitting, standing, bending,
stooping, and lying down) it’s important to learn how to attain and keep correct posture in each position for
good back support, which will result in less back pain. When moving from one position to another, the ideal
situation is that one’s posture is adjusted smoothly and fluidly. After initial correction of bad posture habits,
these movements tend to become automatic and require a little effort to maintain.
HOW TO MAINTAIN POSTURE TO STRAIGHTEN YOUR BACK
For correction of poor posture it is important to determine where improvement is needed, such as when sitting
in an office chair or any daily activities. A person must work on changing daily habits to correct those areas.
This effort will improve back support and over time help decrease back pain. It will take some effort and
adaptation and will seem a little unnatural at first. It is typical to feel uncomfortable, and even feel a little taller,
but over time new posture will seem natural and more comfortable.
SITTING POSTURE FOR OFFICE CHAIRS
Be sure the back is aligned against the back of the office chair. Avoid slouching or leaning forward, especially
when tired from sitting in the office chair for long periods. For long term sitting, such as in an office chair, be
sure the chair is properly support the back and that it is a custom fit. When sitting on an office chair at a desk,
arms should be flexed at a 75 to 90 degree angle at the elbows. If this is not the case, the office chair should be
Knees should be even with the hips, or slightly higher when sitting in the office chair. Keep both feet flat on the
floor. If there’s a problem with feet reaching the floor comfortably, a footrest can be used along with the office
chair. Sit in the office chair with shoulders straight. Don’t sit in one place for too long, even in ergonomic office
chairs that have good back support. Get up and walk around and stretch as needed.
Stand with weight mostly on the balls of feet, not with weight on the heels. Keep feet slightly apart, about
shoulder width. Let arms hang naturally down the sides of the body. Avoid locking the knees. Tuck the chin in a
little to keep the head level. Be sure the head is square on top of the spine, not pushed out forward. Stand
straight and tall, with shoulders upright. If standing for a long period of time, shift weight from one foot to the
other, or rock from heels to toes. Stand against a wall with shoulders and bottom touching wall. In this position,
the back of the head shoulders also touch the wall – if it does not, the head is carried to far forward (anterior
Keep the head up and eyes looking straight ahead. Avoid pushing the head forward. Keep shoulders properly
aligned with the rest of the body.
Sit with the back firmly against the seat for proper back support. The seat should be a proper distance from the
pedals and steering wheel to avoid learning forward or reaching. The headrest should support the middle of the
head to keep it upright. Tilt the headrest forward if possible to make sure that the head – to- headrest distance is
not more than four inches.
LIFTING AND CARRYING
Always bend at knees, not the waist. Use the large leg and stomach muscles for lifting, not the lower back. If
necessary, get a supportive belt to help maintain good posture while lifting. When carrying what a heavy or
large object, keep it close to the chest. If carrying something with one arm, switch arms frequently. When
carrying a backpack or purse, keep it as light as possible, and balance the weight on both sides as much as
possible, or alternate from side to side. When carrying a backpack, avoid leaning forward or rounding the
shoulders. If the weight feels like too much, consider using a rolling backpack with wheels.
SLEEPING WITH MATTRESSES AND PILLOWS
A relatively firm mattress is generally best for proper back support, although individual preference is very
important. Sleeping on the side or back is usually more comfortable for the back than sleeping on the stomach.
Use a pillow to provide proper support and alignment for the head and shoulders. Consider putting a rolled- up
towel under the neck and a pillow under the knees to better support the spine. If sleeping on the side, a
relatively flat pillow placed between the legs will help keep the spine aligned and straight. It is important to note
that an overall cause of bad posture is tense muscles, which will pull the body out of malalignment. In short, if a
person properly maintain his/her posture then he/she will face less pain in their daily life.
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