Most of us experience back pain at some point in our lives. Back pain can be caused by a sports injury, accident or conditions such as scoliosis. Most of the time, however, upper and lower back pain develops due to repetitive activities in our daily lives. Activities such as sitting at a computer or lifting and carrying may produce tension and muscle tightness that can lead to a backache.
Fortunately, there is a great deal we can do to prevent this sort of problem. General fitness and a healthy weight are a good place to start. But paying close attention to your posture is also very important. Posture is the way we hold our body while sitting, standing or preforming daily tasks such as bending, pulling or reaching. If your posture is good, the bones of the spine-the vertebrae-are properly aligned.
4 Easy Steps Toward Good Posture
1) Think Ballerina-Imagine a straight line passing through your body from the ceiling to the floor-ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles should be aligned. Now imagine a cord attached to your breastbone pulling your chest and rib cage upward, making you taller. Think of stretching your head toward the ceiling. Hold your pelvis strong not allowing it to sway forwards or backwards. Always look straight ahead.
2) Shoulder Blade Squeeze-Sit up tall in a chair with your back away from the backrest and hands on your thighs. Keep your shoulders down and look straight ahead-eyes and chin forward. Slowly draw your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades together holding for a count of 5. Relax and repeat 3-4 times.
3) Upper Body Stretch - Position yourself in an open doorway. Stand with your arms raised and hands flat on the frame of the doorway with elbows bent at shoulder level. Place one foot ahead of the other in the doorway. Bending your forward knee, exhale and lean your body forward into the doorway. Remember to keep your back straight with chest and head facing forward. Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds, then relax.
4) Arm Across Chest Stretch - Sit up tall and raise your right arm to shoulder level in front of you and bend your arm at the elbow, keeping your forearm parallel to the floor. Grasp the right elbow with your left hand and gently pull it across your chest so that you feel a stretch in your upper arm and shoulder on the right side. Hold for 20 seconds and then relax. Repeat on the other side. Repeat 3 times per side.
Practice these posture enhancers throughout the day. Do one every time you get up from your desk; practice all 4 right before scheduled breaks and lunch. Pick specific times that work for you and soon it will become a habit.
For more help on healing your back and improving your posture, make an appointment with a physiotherapist or registered massage therapist.