Backache has become a common problem nowadays. Even young men and women are seen holding their back during normal routine work. There are various reasons for this malaise but the leading causes are the wrong sitting postures, walking, sleeping and bending that takes a toll on your backbone. It has been witnessed that mostly people, who spend a good deal of their time sitting in front of the computer, television or doing other desk jobs complain of back pain and the reason is because they sit with improper postures.
According to some medical experts, many of the common sitting positions we choose cause both short and long-term health damage. Sudden back pain that causes due to a new job, a new office chair, or a new car is a short term effect of the wrong sitting postures. On the other hand, you may not feel any ill-effects after sitting with poor posture for a few hours, but over time the stress that poor posture places on your spine can lead to anatomical changes in your spine. This in turn can provoke back pain through the constriction of your blood vessels and nerves. In addition, the stress from poor posture can lead to back pain by causing problems with your muscles, discs, and joints.
This week, You! takes a look at some of the incorrect sitting postures which cause backache, along with some recommendations on how to improve your body posture to avoid any backpain...
Seemingly, sitting cross-legged is a comfortable and common position that many of us like to sit in, but despite the convenience, it can lead to a variety of health problems including back that should be avoided. Many therapists and physiotherapists say that crossing legs often can lead to back and neck pain and even to herniated disc. This is due to the deformity created by the thighs when placed on top of each other, which can lead to an increased pressure on the spine and backbone.
Sitting with your back stooped
Many of us are familiar with the recommendation to sit with your back straight when your knees are ninety degrees off the floor. Indeed, a sitting position that provides good back support is one in which the knees and buttocks are at the same height. Many who suffer from back pain, or whose back muscles are weak and unable to provide proper support, reach a position where the lower back fails to remain straight, and curls forward instead of staying straight. Prolonged sitting in a position (such as in desk jobs) where the back crouches or curls forward, while the knees and buttocks are left at a 90-degree angle, may cause lower back pain.
Half-lying posture or leaning back
Most of us do it either at work or when playing on the computer or watching television. When we feel pain in the back, especially in the lower back, our tendency is to move to a position that will strain our muscles less, and slack sitting allows us to move some of the load onto other parts of the back.
However, by moving to this slack position, we convert part of the muscle load onto our bones, tendons, and even nerves. These parts are not supposed to carry the weight we lay onto them in the loose sitting position, so we may suffer from long-term and even immediate damage.
Although leaning back seems to be a convenient and useful thing, this is very harmful instead.
This is a favorite form of sitting for many, and it is also the form of the initial sitting position in yoga classes, and not by accident - It has attributes of calmness, balance and peace. Some yoga students choose the lotus position, which is an oriental position where the feet lay on top of the thighs and not under them.
However, in order to gain the benefits of this position, one would need the flexibility of the hip joints and back muscle strength, which otherwise may collapse under the difficulty of this sitting position and lead to back pain, hip and ankle inflammation.
Sleeping on your stomach
People who sleep in one position the whole night often complain about spine issues. Thereby, it is important to sleep in a position that doesn’t aggravate your back condition. If you are among those who love sleeping on their stomach, it’s time you put this position to rest, literally. When you sleep on your tummy, you position your head sideways which can wrongly impact your cervical spine (the base of your neck). In worse cases, it can even ruin the alignment of your spin.
Tips to help maintain proper sitting posture
If poor posture can lead to back pain, it logically follows that good posture can help you avoid back pain. Here’s how to maintain good posture while walking, sitting and lifting:
Walk tall: Your posture is no less important when you’re walking than when you’re sitting. While walking, it’s important to look straight ahead of you and to keep your head balanced straight above your spine. Additionally, remain tall (avoid drooping your shoulders) while you are walking, and make sure to land on your heel and then gently roll forward to push off the front of your foot.
Sit with support: If you sit for at least eight hours every day. With so much of your life spent sitting down, it is imperative that you sit with proper posture. One common posture mistake many people make is the ‘office chair hunch’, where a person sits at the front of their chair and hunches forward to reach their computer.
Instead of hunching forward, here is how to sit with proper posture in your office:
Chin up: Keep your back flush against your chair with your shoulders tall and your head level over your spine.
Watch your arms: When sitting at a desk, keep your arms flexed at a 75 to 90 degree angle at the elbows.
Balance: Keep your knees level with your hips or sit with your knees slightly above your hips if seated at a desk.
Keep it flat: Keep your feet flat on the floor. If you are unable to reach the floor, you can utilize a footrest.
Lift carefully: Lifting heavy objects without proper techniques can cause injury to the muscles, joints and discs. To help you avoid back pain, here are three simple rules for lifting both light and heavy objects:
The forward rule: Keep your chest forward. To ensure you keep your back straight while lifting, bend your hips - not your lower back - and keep your chest out.
Lead with your hip: When changing directions while lifting, lead with your hips to avoid placing additional strain on your back. Instead of bending, spread your legs slightly and bend your knees instead of your back.
Keep weight close to your body: Keep the object you are lifting as close to your body as possible. Instead of bending, spread your legs slightly and bend your knees instead of your back.
Exercises: Strengthening muscles through exercises for stabilizing the body during sitting is something that must be done in order to be able to return from sitting bent to a healthy and normal sitting position. So, try to incorporate muscle exercise in your routine.