For those of us with sedentary jobs, particularly anyone working with computers every day, developing back and neck pain can be a common problem. So knowing how to maintain a healthy posture is really important if you want to prevent musculoskeletal injuries and stay pain free.
Healthy posture is a position that places the least strain on your body. Here, we are going to discuss sitting posture and how to find the position in sitting with least strain. Everyone has their own unique good sitting posture and there are certain movements we can do to find this position of least strain. Another point to consider is that healthy posture is always pain free. Never hold a painful position.
So, how do you find your healthy posture?
1. Lower back
Sit towards the front edge of the seat and check that your shoulders are over your hips. This means that you’re not leaning forwards or backwards – you’re balanced.
Now, place your upturned hands under your buttocks. Have a wriggle and you should feel two bones, one over each hand, that are part of the pelvis.
Next, keeping your shoulders over your hips, slouch on your seat. You will feel the pelvic bones move forwards.
Next, sit too upright and feel the bones move backwards.
Good posture is midway through this movement.
Now, from the over-corrected posture you are in, slowly move towards a slouch and stop when you feel the pelvic bones the most. That’s when they are pointing down at 6 o’clock. Notice, you’ll have a gentle inward curve of your lower back.
We call this position pelvic neutral – it’s your own personal good posture for your lower back.
2. Upper back and shoulders
Now, keep pelvic neutral and we’ll move on to the upper back and shoulders.
Keep those shoulders over the hips and place a finger over your chest bone (see image above). Now, slowly raise the chest bone area and allow your shoulders to go wide. Keep pelvic neutral.
3. Moving on to head and neck…
Look straight ahead, draw your upright head backwards and then grow taller from the crown of your head (see image). Do this movement as much as you can, then relax the last 10% of the movement.
This is your good neck posture.
Put all three together and that produces your good sitting posture.
Tips for maintaining good posture
Remember… good posture is always pain free. If you have pain, just slightly relax the area that’s painful. This will only be millimetres.
Learn your own good posture and move back to this position as many times a day as you can. There’s no limit.
Every time you move back into your own personal good posture, you reduce the strain you’re putting on joints, muscles and ligaments. This is a powerful action that relieves and prevents pain.
Try this out and let us know how you get on!
Jane Morgan is a Chartered Physiotherapist who runs a private practice based in South Manchester and specialises in musculoskeletal injuries and injury prevention. She created Positive Posture, a specific pain prevention system for computer workers. For more information, visit www.positiveposture.org or email [email protected]