Most of us develop upper or lower back pain during the course of day-to-day life. It could be due to a sports-related injury, an accident, or a congenital condition such as scoliosis. Well, Repetitive activities contribute largely to this condition. It could be sitting at a computer for long hours or lifting and carrying with inappropriate or unsupported postures. It causes load on your spine which weakens the tissue that eventually produces tension and muscle tightness.
Well, a simple act of paying attention to your posture could help you in back pain. Its best to start with knowing the basics:
The basics of posture
Posture is the alignment of our body in which we hold it while standing, sitting, or performing tasks like lifting, bending, pulling, or reaching. A good posture refers to a neutral spine in which three natural curves are present.
What if there is a misalignment in your body posture?
Incorrect posture develops tension within your muscle tissue, spinal joints, and discs. This somehow slowly weakens the affected structure with time. Let’s look at the common postures that may contribute to your back pain:
● Prolonged hunching while standing, walking or sitting without supporting your trunk. It concentrates all your body weight on the legs which can cause stress in your back, core, and abdominal muscles. This reduces the blood supply, and slowly develops stiffness in the trunk and lower back which contributes to pain.
● An unsupported sitting posture for prolonged hours can result in a small forward bend on the spine placing a load on the lower spinal discs. This causes herniation.
● An incorrect-lifting technique that may involve bending your back inappropriately can cause your lumbar disc to herniate. It causes pain in the lower back that may get transferred to your leg through a nearby spinal nerve.
● Indulging in a sedentary lifestyle such as working on a laptop or reading while lying on your belly may result in this condition. This position causes your lower back and hip to extend (bend backward) excessively, which misaligns the lower spinal curve leading to pain.
If you sit in any of these incorrect postures, you may experience back pain in future.
How to sit correctly?
This is probably a good posture where your feet can comfortably rest on a surface, whether the floor or a footstool. This position also makes it easy to adjust posture within the chair (fidget) and change posture to get out of the chair.
It’s also important the arms hang down from the shoulders vertically with elbows by the trunk, unless the forearms are supported on the work surface. Holding unsupported arms forward requires the muscles connecting the shoulder and neck to work harder. This often results in muscle fatigue and discomfort.
The head should be looking straight ahead or a little downwards. Looking upwards would increase tension in the neck and likely lead to discomfort.
This posture is useful for common office tasks such as working on a desktop computer.
The defining feature of this posture is that the trunk is angled forward, and the arms are rested on the work surface. Allowing the thigh to point down at an angle may make it easier to maintain an inward curve in your lower back, which is suggested to reduce low back stress.
For a time, special chairs were developed to enable the thigh to be angled downwards, and usually had a feature to block the knees, stopping the person sliding off the angled seat base.
By perching on the front of an ordinary chair and resting your elbows on the work surface, you can use this posture to provide variety in sitting. This posture is useful for tasks such as drawing or handwriting on a flat work surface, either with paper or a touch screen device.
The defining feature of the third option is the trunk is angled backward, supported by the chair’s backrest. Back muscle activity is lowest in this posture, as some of the upper body weight is taken by the chair.
This position may reduce the risk of fatigue in the back muscles and resultant discomfort. But sitting like this for hours each day may result in the back muscles being more vulnerable to fatigue in the future.
This posture is useful for meetings and phone conversations. But it doesn’t work well for handwriting or using a computer as the arms need to be held forwards for these things, requiring neck and shoulder muscle activity likely to result in discomfort.
Make Your WorkStation Seat-Friendly
Yes, we could start by talking about what kind of chair can be used to promote relief and comfortability, but a large part of sitting properly at one’s desk relies on the arrangement of the workstation. Before getting started with the work day, ask yourself these questions:
1. Are my eyes in line with the area of the screen that I focus on most?
2. Is what I need most within arm’s reach?
3. Is my keyboard adjusted to assure maximum comfort for my wrists, shoulders and neck?
If you are unable to answer these questions confidently, you should seriously consider adjusting your workstation to meet these requirements. You can use an Ergonomic Desk and Chair Height Calculator to find your exact ergonomic office setup.
Apart from this, there are several products available in the market that help you with the bodily postures and aids back pain. One such product is Bael Wellness Seat Cushion that aids Sciatica, Coccyx, Tailbone, Orthopedic, Back Pain Relief. It is ACA Approved. Relieves back pain, sciatica & coccyx (tailbone) pain naturally. Correct postures. Mitigates the risk of sitting for longer hours.
It can be used with any seat office chair, car seat, general automotive, patio chair, dining chair, kitchen chair, truck seat, airplane seat, wheelchair, stadium seat or even for flat surface and outdoor. It helps you adjust with the current seating arrangements which is difficult at times and certainly you would feel the difference. If you are also suffering from the same issue this cushion would relieve your pain naturally.