Correct Your Posture For Back Pain Relief
Why people suffer from injury due to poor posture
One of the most common causes of back and neck pain is incorrect posture. Most people spend a large part of their day either sitting in chairs–whether it is at a computer, in the car or while watching television – or standing for long periods of time. For many of our clients a significant part of the day is spent sitting in a wheelchair which makes the need for better posture that much more critical. Maintaining any position for prolonged periods of time makes most people less likely to observe the rules of good posture. Additionally, the average employee in a job that demands prolonged sitting or standing, becomes more susceptible to chronic backache, shoulder ache and spinal problems potentially resulting in unnecessary workplace injury.
Since the most common implication of incorrect posture is back pain, the most noticeable benefit to correcting posture is a straighter back and healthier spine. Maintaining correct posture can reduce the stress felt on the lower and middle back, and it can reduce the risk of joint damage. People who make improvements in their posture notice positive changes such as reduced fatigue, better sleep and improved breathing. Correct posture also improves general health and well-being, and, most importantly, allows muscles to function with maximum efficiency.
Improving Your Posture
There are a number of simple devices that assist in improving posture while sitting and standing. One of Motion Specialties’ newest offering is a simple daily living aid that addresses the problem of incorrect posture. The Posture Perfector also known as the Posture-Medic is a pair of rubber rings joined by a brace, and is designed to help people develop better posture and maintain it over time. This device is available in three sizes and is suitable for use during rehab and post-rehab. Most importantly, the Posture Perfector can be used by people with every level of physical ability. It is designed for frequent use and allows users to stretch it in order to exercise the tonic and phasic muscles, which are responsible for achieving and maintaining correct posture.
Since the Posture Perfector is light and unobtrusive, people are able to easily wear it for short periods of time at home or at work –on average, for 15 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day. When it is worn at multiple points in a day, this device trains the muscles of the chest and back to hold correct posture and become stronger. The Posture Perfector should also be used to do stretches and exercises in order to individually strengthen the tight muscles that contribute to poor posture. When combined with these exercises, over time it becomes easier to maintain correct posture while working.
n.b. It is recommended to let a healthcare professional suggest ways you can best incorporate the Posture Perfector into your lifestyle, taking into consideration your current abilities. There are also various posture braces that help to strengthen and improve posture as well.
Better Posture for Sitting
Motion Specialties also offers a variety of cushions that are designed to provide postural support in people with special mobility requirements. These cushions are ideal for people who need additional comfort and stability while sitting for long periods of time.
The Future Mobility Elite Cushion, for instance, is designed to improve sitting posture for people who live a relatively sedentary lifestyle. It is eligible for ADP funding when purchased for a wheelchair and also qualifies for various funding programs outside Ontario. It has a washable cover, and is made with soft foam that is contoured to offer pressure distribution without compromising on comfort. Similarly, the Invacare Comfort-Mate Cushion is also designed to improve a user’s sitting posture particularly when using a wheelchair and also qualifies for most provincial funding assistance programs when purchased for wheelchair use. This cushion is water repellant, and offers the additional feature of being usable on taut sling upholstery.
Posture Awareness for better daily living
The first step to good posture is awareness. While it is always a good idea to use assistive devices to improve posture –especially if you have specific mobility requirements –these guidelines to achieving good posture are always useful to follow:
Correct standing posture can be achieved when you stand upright and keep your back straight. Your legs should be straight, with your weight evenly distributed on both feet. Let your arms hang freely along the sides of your body.
While sitting, ensure your back is straight and your shoulders are not hunched forward. Keep your feet flat on the ground with your knees at the same level as your hips. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed rather than taut, and your arms are parallel to the floor.
Whether you are sitting or standing, be sure to avoid maintaining the same position for a long time. Take breaks whenever possible.