General posture and back health

Good posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during these activities.

What is posture

Posture is the position in which you hold your body whilst standing or lying down. Proper posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit and lie so as to place the least strain on muscles and ligaments while you are moving or performing weight bearing activities.

Good posture plays the following key roles:

• Helps cut down the wear and tear of joint surfaces to help prevent the onset of arthritis.
• Reduces the strain on the ligaments in the spine.
• Keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that the muscles are being used efficiently.
• Prevents the spine from being fixed in abnormal positions.
• Reduces backache and muscular pain.
• Prevents fatigue since muscles are being used more efficiently.

Correct sitting position

• Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back. Your buttocks should touch the back of the chair.
• All three normal back curves should be present while sitting.
• Sit at the end of your chair and slouch completely.
• Draw yourself up and accentuate the curve of your back as far as possible. Hold for 15 seconds.
• Release the position slightly = good sitting posture.
• Distribute your body weight evenly over your hips.
• Bend your knees at a right angle. Do not cross your legs.
• Keep your feet flat on the floor.
• Avoid sitting in one position for too long.
• Rest your elbows and arms on your chair or desk, keeping your shoulders relaxed.
• Avoid turning, stretching, reaching or rotating the upper body whilst sitting. Instead, turn the whole body.
• When standing up from the sitting position, move to the front of the chair. Stand up by straightening your legs. Avoid bending forward at your waist.

Correct driving position

• Avoid forcing your spine into an extreme lumbar curve by using a lumbar roll.
• Adjust your seat height so that your knees and hips are at the same height.
• Adjust your seat so that you can extend your arms, rest them on the steering wheel and ensure your shoulders are in a relaxed position.

Correct lifting position

• Avoid lifting objects in an awkward position.
• Also make sure of your footing before lifting heavy objects.
• Always keep your back straight and bend your knees when lifting objects. NB never bend forward at the waist with the knees straight.
• Stand with a wide stance close to the object. Keep the core muscles tight (activated) whilst lifting the object using your leg muscles.
• Never jerk the object upwards.
• Take special precaution lifting objects above waist level.
• Hold packages close to your body with the arms slightly bent. Keep your core muscles activated and take small steps moving your feet and hips to provide a solid base of support.
• Spread your feet, providing a stable base for your hips and spine to lower objects slowly.

What is the best position for lying down and sleeping?

Sleeping positions are a common discussion point. More important is your pillow placing.

• Make sure that your pillow is under your head and not shoulders. The thickness of the pillow is the next important point. The pillow should assist to keep the spine (all the vertebrae) in a straight line. The thickness differs in various positions, from lying on your back to lying on your side.
• Select a firm mattress and box spring set that does not sag.
• Standing up is more important than we think. When standing up from a lying position, turn on your side, draw up both knees and swing your legs on the side of the bed. Sit up by pushing yourself up with your hands. Avoid bending forward at your waist.

These recommendations will benefit most people with back pain.

To assist you with any inflammatory muscle and joint pain, you need to consider using an anti-inflammatory gel that can provide targeted, cooling, soothing relief by applying a product like Deep Relief, which contains Ibuprofen.