Protect Your Back While You Sit At The Computer
"Stand up Straight!"
I hated my teacher and mother telling me to "stand up straight". For one thing, to "stand up straight and look at me", usually meant I was about to be scolded or punished. Those words were a message within a message. I was in trouble.
In the military, men and women are taught to stand up straight, chest out, etc. as a sign of respect. So, for most of us, "good posture" takes on a bit of a negative feeling. "Don't slouch!" is yet another order that especially teens rebel from. Few of us were taught good posture in a positive and understanding approach.
Sitting at the computer invites a whole new set of back and neck problems. However, we can avoid these problems with a few pointers. So, Here's the Scoop on Your Posture,Back and Muscles.
The Benefit of Using Good Posture
Posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while standing, sitting or lying down. Good posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement or weight-bearing activities.
A healthy back has three natural curves:
- An inward or forward curve at the neck (cervical curve)
- An outward or backward curve at the upper back (thoracic curve)
- An inward curve at the lower back (lumbar curve)
When we practice good posture, it helps in maintaining these natural curves. When we forget good posture, the opposite happens - with poor posture we can pull a muscle which causes pain.
- Keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly.
- Helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis.
- Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
- Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
- Prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
- Prevents strain or overuse problems.
- Prevents backache and muscular pain.
- Contributes to a good appearance
- Appear taller than you are
Compare Your Sitting Posture With These
Checking Your Posture For Sitting At The Computer
When you first begin to make definite changes in the way you sit at the computer, you will not feel as relaxed as you normally do. This is normal. Your body isn't use to the new changes you are making. Keep in mind that your goal is to keep your spine straight (except for the natural lower curve). To do this, you may need to put a small pillow at your back. You can also roll up a towel, placing it at the needed area.
"Deviations in the body's center of gravity caused poor posture, which resulted in intestinal problems, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, osteoporosis, hip and foot deformities, poor health, decreased quality of life, and a shortened life span."
-Freeman JT., Posture in the Aging and Aged Body, JAMA 1957; 165(7), pp 843-846 JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association)
The above statement clearly states what can happen to the body when correct posture is not maintained.
When sitting or standing, make a conscious habit of "pulling in" the stomach as a way to raise the thoracic area (chest). If your stomach muscles are weak, you will feel a little muscle ache after you repeat this action a number of times.
Check your neck when sitting at the computer. Your ears should be directly above the shoulders. Avoid what is known as "forward neck", as this causes stiff neck and neck pain. Be sure to do a few head rolls, and if this makes you dizzey, turn your head from side to side to keep it flexible. another good stretch is to lower your chin to your chest - slowly and then tilt the head back.
Refrain from sitting more than 20 minutes at the computer and take a 10-20 minute break. Your body loves to be stretched. I try to stretch 3-4 times a day, followed by a nice cold glass of water. Your mind also appreciates a break now and then. Giving it a short rest from the computer will bring you clarity and focus.
As you begin creating better posture, you are creating a better you. Begin with baby steps. Don't forget to thank your body for the service it gives you. Treat it well. Nourish it, love it, and humor it.
Oh, My Ach'in Back
I have suffered with back pain my entire life. I have had three spinal epidurals Then, being low in vitamin D, I have suffered two spinal compression fractures. The most recent fracture appeared a few weeks ago. Hoping to avoid surgery, my doctor sent me to Physical Therapy. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
I began my sessions in so much pain that I could barely move. I ended my sessions with complete relief of back pain. But the real plus is what I have learned about my own body and how to stand, sit, bend and move the correct way. With this new knowledge, I can better protect my back as I improve my posture,
I am grateful for my improvement and what I have learned through extensive therapy and a lot of hard physical work on my part. I hope to help all of you and especially my fellow writers who sit for long periods of time at the computer. We are ruining our backs which leads to other problems because of incorrect, bad posture.
How to Sit at the Computer
Protect your back and sleep better
Wikipedia.com had this to say about prolonged sitting:
Spending many hours sitting each day is related to raised mortality and CVD risk regardless of total physical activity. Inflammatory and metabolic risk factors partly explain this relationship.
CVD is an abbreviation for Cardiovascular disease, also called heart disease.
Pull in those abdominal muscles while sitting. The stronger your core is, the less back pain you'll have. Do exercises to strengthen the muscles that support your back. Besides your abdominal muscles, include exercises to strengthen your pelvic area, hips and back.
87% of young people have back pain. The other 13% have no computer.
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