Advice for Everyday Living: Mind Your Posture
Having and maintaining a good posture is a major step in preventing back pain and other, similar problems.
When leading a busy lifestyle, the basic warning signs of back problems can go unnoticed. Of course, no one is immune from back pain but chiropractors from the British Chiropractic Association have some simple advice to help.
Many BCA chiropractors are asked by their patients about the ideal posture and the general guidance they give is:
- Imagine a plumb line hanging straight from your ear, through the shoulder and to your hip, knee and ankle.
- Try and stand in a relaxed way whilst gently contracting abdominal muscles. When sitting, the same is true. The gravity line should pass thorough the ear, shoulder and hip.”
The British Chiropractic Association has advice on different aspects of posture in everyday life. Many titles will include an advice video and all have a downloadable advice sheet.
Lifting and Carrying
Face the direction in which you want to carry the weight and always lift using a relaxed, straight back. Make sure your legs are at least your hips’ width apart with the knees bent. Keep your head and shoulders directly above your waist and keep the weight you are carrying as close to you as possible – avoid twisting. For more tips and information, view the video to the right or …View the Lifting and Carrying Advice Sheet
Buying a bed/sleeping
Try and adopt a sleeping position which creates less physical stress on the back first thing in the morning. For example, lay on your side and not on your front with your neck twisted. When you wake up, try some gentle stretches, such as drawing your knees to your chest, before getting out of bed. For more tips and information, view the video to the right or …View the Buying A Bed/Sleeping Advice Sheet
Always take the time to adjust your chair, particularly if you share your computer with others. Your seat should be adjusted so that your feet are flat on the ground, your knees bent, but with a slope from your hips to your knees. You should end up with your hips higher than your knees and your eyes level with the top of the computer screen. You may need to put the screen on a stand or even on a ream of paper to bring it to the right height. For more tips and information, view the video to the right or …View the Computer Posture Advice Sheet
If you share a car, make sure the seat position is adjusted to suit you each time you get in. The back of the seat should be set slightly backwards, so that it feels natural and your elbows should be at a comfortable and relaxed angle for driving. For more tips and information, view the video to the right or …View the Driving Advice Sheet
Gardening is like any other exercise; you need to warm up first. Don’t go straight into heavy garden work; start off with lighter jobs as this will lessen the chance of muscle strain. For more tips and information, view the video to the right or …View the Gardening Advice Sheet
If you need to use a ladder, make sure you are always facing it and move the ladder regularly, rather than leaning to reach your goal. Always keep your shoulders, hips and knees pointing in the same direction. For more tips and information, view the video to the right or …View the DIY Advice Sheet
The lighter you keep your bag the better, especially if you have to carry it about all day. Check the contents of your bag(s) each day and only carry those items you need for the day ahead – it is surprising how many people carry unnecessary weight in their bags. For more tips and information …View the Bags Advice Sheet
If you mainly stand on your commute, make sure you wear comfortable shoes and loose clothing. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold onto a rail comfortably, don’t over stretch. For more tips and information …View the Commuting Advice Sheet
Buying a Bra
Bras are like suspension bridges, you need a well engineered bra so your shoulders don’t take all of the strain and end up doing all of the work; spreading the load is important. Bras that don’t fit will affect the shoulders and chest and may cause back pain as you get older. It is so important to make sure a bra gives you enough support as possible.View the Buying a Bra Advice Sheet
Warm up before strenuous skiing. Start off gently rather than heading first for the black runs and round the day off with a stretch. Take plenty of breaks; overexertion will ruin your holiday, moderate the length of skiing time and listen to your body.View the Skiing Advice Sheet
Bank holidays are a time for relaxation, time with friends and family at home or away as well as the opportunity to kick-off some of those DIY and garden projects.
Whether travelling, undertaking DIY projects, gardening or just lazing about, the British Chiropractic Association has some great tips to help avoid any problems with your back and posture.View the Bank Holidays Advice Sheet
The lower back, shoulders and wrists are the most obvious joints at risk for golfers through the repetitive nature of the golf swing, but carrying a golf bag can also place an enormous strain on your neck.View the Golf Advice Sheet
However you are travelling, before you go choose your suitcase wisely, buy the lightest case possible that has wheels; hard cases tend to weigh quite a lot before you even start to fill them. If possible, take two light suitcases rather than one, so you can distribute the weight more evenly.View the Holiday Travel Advice Sheet
Women experience an increase in lumbar curving during pregnancy due to the increased weight being carried out in front. This puts more pressure on some of the joints of the spine, causing discomfort and, for some women, pain.View the Pregnancy Posture Advice Sheet
Parents’ Posture Outdoors
A pushchair or pram with adjustable height settings is ideal, as it can be moved to suit your own height and that of anyone else who will be pushing it. You should be able to walk upright with a straight spine and hands resting at a comfortable height.View the Parents’ Posture Outdoors Advice Sheet
Parents’ Posture Indoors
The less you have to lift and lean to put your child into the cot, the better. A 5kg weight at your chest equates to five times that amount at arms length so placing your child in the cot, whilst keeping them as close as possible to you, is best for your back.View the Parents’ Posture Indoors Advice Sheet
A lack of exercise is your worst enemy. Regular exercise is essential as the fitter you are, the less likely you are to injure yourself. Simple activities such as stretching and shoulder shrugging can all help to keep your back in line. Do not sit for prolonged periods.View the General Advice Advice Sheet