FEELING GREAT: Top tips for improving posture

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Just had this question asked in my clinic this week that I wanted to share with you:

’Paul, I’ve recently had repetitive strain injury from work and although I’ve been given a wrist rest for when I’m on the computer, I still seem to suffer from bad posture. What would help improve my posture at work…’

Clare, 49, Durham

A lot of people underestimate the power of great posture and the advantages it can provide to your lifestyle. Think of it in this way, a lot of your time is spent at work doing whatever it is that you do, but if you have bad posture throughout your day, in the long run, it can have a serious effect. Some people can spend hours either at a desk or stood up at work and them hours of having bad posture can add up to something serious if it is not dealt with. Here’s a few ways to have better posture and ultimately, make it a healthy habit in your lifestyle.

This tip might seem quite obvious but the first thing I’d recommend is to keep your body in alignment. If you have an office job then adjust your seating if you are sat down for a long period of time. Remember the chair’s features are there for a reason, to make you feel supported. Sit up straight and align the ears, shoulders and hips in one vertical line. Sometimes, depending on how long you are sat for, even if you are sitting in a good position, it can feel tiring. If this is the case, then try shifting towards the front of your seat with a straight back from time to time. This can sometimes help ease your back muscles.

If however you stand up at work, then standing straight really does help. I know at times it can feel like a relief to rest your body weight on one leg whilst resting the rest of your body on a desk or worktop. Sound familiar? Unfortunately this is pretty much how not to stand. Ultimately all you are doing to your body is putting strain on particular muscles whilst you ‘rest’. When standing, distribute your body weight evenly to the front, back and sides of the feet.

Another great tip is to get up and move! The best time to get up and moving is when you start to feel your body slouch a little and find it hard to keep in a comfortable position. If it’s possible however, try and get up from your chair every half an hour or so and do a few stretches or walk around for a few minutes.

After a few minutes you’ll come back to your desk refreshed and ready to start working.

If like Clare, you are thinking of using posture-friendly props, then great. They are easy to find and can make a big difference to your posture at work. As Clare has done, she has decided to use a wrist rest to help ease her symptoms of Repetitive strain injury.

However there are many other props in which will help you at work. Footrests, back supports and even a pillow can help ease back pain. Even positioning your computer screen/s to your natural resting eye position, will help avoid straining the neck with the head tilted forward.

If you don’t work in an office and are situated more outdoors, then even using correct footwear, bags and backpacks can help minimise back strain and can encourage good posture.

The solution lies not only in putting these actions in place, but also implementing these in the long run. It may not be a quick fix but you will be easing your pain in the long-term.

For more tips on easing back, neck and shoulder pain just go to: www.paulgoughphysio.com/back-pain to pick up a free special report with top tips on easing back pain.