Looking after your back
Being mindful when sitting on the couch…
We’ve all heard the words “sit up straight”, “don’t slouch” and “shoulders back” a lot over the years am I right?
At Hoppers Physio, we see many people experiencing some sort of back pain. It isn’t surprising that posture, and the pursuit of the ‘perfect posture’, has been such a big part in the management of back pain.
The truth is, some of us were born with, or have developed, a certain “sub-optimal” posture that may not need to be changed.
The amount of sitting our modern lives entails is arguably a much bigger issue. From sitting in the car on the way to work, sitting at work, sitting in the car on the way home only to sit back on the couch once we get there…
We might be better off simply changing postures (aka MOVING).
Here are some ways to incorporate movement into your workday:
Sit to stand desks
Many offices have bought in sit-to-stand desks to give workers the choice and opportunity to stand during the day. These are a great way to incorporate positional changes throughout the day and allow the legs muscles to stretch and activate.
Different positions for different tasks
You can also move your body while you’re sitting at your desk.
– If you’re typing, sit up tall.
– For phone calls, lean back in your chair.
– For writing tasks, lean forward.
This way, your body and back move through different positions throughout the day and don’t get stuck in the one.
Instead of sitting at your desk and eating your lunch, go for a walk instead. Instead of sending an email or making a phone call to a colleague, walk over to them.
Stand up exercises to relieve desk posture
– Stand with your feet shoulders width apart.
– Place your hands in the small of your back for support.
– Slowly lean backward increasing the arch of your lower back until you feel a mild stretch in the abdominal muscles and slight pressure in the lower back.
– You can perform this as a static stretch by holding for 15-20 seconds, then repeating it 3-5 times per session.
– To perform this as an active range of motion exercise, hold for only a few seconds, but perform 10 repetitions per session.
If distractions get the better of you at work, set reminders on your computer, phone or smart watch to remind you to get up and have a wriggle.
The take-home message is, no matter what your posture is, change it. Constantly. Movement is medicine.
For more information on how you can best manage your posture each day, or for an ergonomic assessment, contact the team at Hoppers Physio. We are located in Melbourne’s Western Suburb – Hoppers Crossing. Open 6 days. Call (03) 9749 5110