Back pain? Let’s look at your posture.

How many hours a day do you spend sitting at a desk or hunched over a computer? If you’re like many of my patients, the answer is quite a few. This can have a serious impact on your health.

Our bodies were made to move. Indeed, our ancestors spent most of their time walking, or running or otherwise in motion. Because most of us now sit for so much of our days, we tend to run into trouble. As a chiropractor, I’m on the front lines. I see patients coming in for back pain, stiff or sore necks — all the usual suspects that indicate too much time sitting. 

One of the problem areas when sitting is posture. I’ll be the first to admit it: when I’m sitting down, my posture isn’t ideal. I instinctively want to slouch a little. I’ve observed that most people sit that way.

The trouble is that this puts a great deal of pressure on the back in the wrong way. In the short term, this pressure can lead to mild pain and soreness. In the long run, however, it can create serious structural problems in the back, and chronic back pain.

The good news is that posture is eminently fixable!

If you notice that your posture isn’t great, there are several simple steps you can take.

  1. Make an appointment with a chiropractor. This is one of our specialities! A good adjustment (or series of adjustments) will get your back into alignment so that you have an easier time of maintaining proper posture.
  2. Strengthen your core. The better shape your core muscles are in, the easier it is to sit up straight. When your core muscles are stronger, they can help hold you up, instead of relying completely on your spine. This takes a lot of pressure off your back. A skilled chiropractor will be able to show you specific exercises that can help strengthen your core. Yoga is also great.
  3. Check in with yourself when sitting. If you notice that you’re slouching, sit up as straight as you can, and then relax your back just slightly. That’s usually a good sitting posture. Make a point to not sit for too long: stand up every half-hour, and get up and walk around every hour or so, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
  4. Move! This is always one of my favorite suggestions for good health. Spend as much time walking as you can during the day. Really, the more the better. Check in with your posture when you do. Try and keep your back close to straight, and balance on the four corners of your feet (the balls of your feet and your inner and outer heel).

For more suggestions, check out this expanded list of tips from the American Chiropractic Association.