Can Good Posture Help Ease Back Pain?
Posture is the way a person holds their body while sitting, standing or walking. Good posture maintains the balance and alignment of the curves of the spine. Poor posture involves slouching or slumping for repeated or extended periods, which can cause or worsen back pain.
Good posture can help reduce back pain in several ways:
- Reduces tension and tightness in the neck and back muscles
- Eases strain on the ligaments in the spine
- Reduces stress on the vertebrae and discs
- Helps prevent pinching or constriction of blood vessels and nerves
Good posture tips
- When standing, make sure the ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles are all in line. Imagine a piece of string pulling the top of the head toward the ceiling to help the body stand tall.
- Sit with the back straight, shoulders back and down, and weight distributed evenly over both hips. Keep the knees at the same level or higher than the hips. Keep both feet flat on the floor. Use a rolled-up towel for lumbar support if needed.
- When walking, keep the head up and back. Keep the shoulders aligned with the rest of the body.
Try exercises to stretch or strengthen the back. These can help improve posture. When sitting or standing for an extended period, take a break and stretch the body.
- Shoulder blade squeeze
Sit up straight with the shoulders relaxed and the chin level. Pull the shoulders back and imagine squeezing a pencil between the shoulder blades. Hold for five seconds, then relax. Repeat three to four times.
- Wall slide
Stand with the back, butt, shoulders and head placed against a wall; keep the knees slightly bent. Reach the arms straight up overhead with the backs of the hands against the wall. Slowly bend the elbows and slide the arms down; keep the arms and body in contact with the wall until the elbows are slightly lower than shoulder height. Hold for a few seconds, then slide the arms back to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
- Child’s pose
Start on all fours with the tops of the feet on the ground. Sit the hips back to rest on the heels while stretching the arms forward, palms on the ground. Place the forehead on the ground. Relax and breathe for five minutes.
- Arm-across-chest stretch
Raise the left arm straight out in front of the body at shoulder level. Bend the left elbow, keeping your arm parallel to the ground. Grab the left elbow with the right hand and gently pull it across the chest. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat three times on each side.