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Improving ones posture

Updated on February 12, 2012

Being very tall, early in my life I subconsciously would slouch down to be at the level of my peers. Through the years I’ve walked around with a slight slouch. It has never bothered me and it has been comfortable but lately it has started to cause mid back problems. After medical investigations that lead to nothing serious my GP referred me to a physiotherapist. After asking me about my symptoms and a little feel of my back I was told that the pain was due to bad posture. So the goal was to improve my posture which will in turn get rid of the pain. What a challenge.

Because I’ve been hunched for years, straightening my back and trying to stay in that position is uncomfortable. A straight back is the way we are supposed to be but because my muscles that support a straight back haven’t been working it has began to cause pain. It gets worse before it gets better, right? The pain shouldn’t be unbearable but when you change your posture to what you are not used to, it will cause some discomfort.

So what are my challenges to improve the pain and create good posture?

The first is to remind myself to sit up straight and to walk straight. I’m only on day two and it’s been a challenge. The physiotherapist gave some good tips, he said place a little note on your computer to remind yourself to sit up straight. It has to be something you have to keep reminding yourself to do. So far so good but a little more pain in my back. It is going to take getting used to as this has not been my normal position in years.

Second – I’ve been given a few simple exercises to follow to help relax the muscles around the spine.

First exercise

Sit on a chair with you feet firmly on the ground, cross your arms across your chest. Turn your from your waist to the left as far as you can go and stay in that position for about 30 seconds then turn to your right and hold again for thirty seconds. I do this twice, but I also make sure I do it very gently.

Second exercise

Stay in the same position, this time you can use an umbrella or a broomstick and place it across your shoulders. Twist to the left as far as you can go and hold for thirty seconds, then twist to your right and hold for another thirty seconds. Please be careful when turning as you don’t want to twist or hurt your spine.

Third exercise

Get a big towel and roll it up into a sausage shape. Place it on the floor and also place a pillow on the floor. Lie down so that your spine is directly parallel to the towel. This helps straighten your back. You can try it for five minutes a day and increase gradually. This helped me as it also gave me a little stretch which felt good.

Other things you can do to improve posture

Pilates for posture

This has helped not only with posture but with tightness and pain.

Yoga for posture

A friend recommended this to me; she told me she’d done it for posture and well being. In the first instance you do feel uncomfortable with a straight back but it will become something you are used to, the way it is suppose to be.

Things you can do to improve when at work

If you’re like me and you spend most of your day sat at a computer, make sure you do a work station assessment. Your computer should be at proper eye level, you chair adjusted to the correct position. I found that the back had been too short so I adjusted it and that gave me better back support.

Take breaks from your desk. Being mobile helps your back unstiffen. At your desk you can do the exercises mentioned above at your desk. When lifting heavy items, use your leg muscles rather than your back muscles. Just keep on being conscious and soon good posture will be natural. I’m on my way there too.

The physiotherapist said that it takes at least three months to finally correct you posture without conscious effort. It will become natural to you. I’m hoping for that day soon.

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    • Rastamermaid profile image

      Rastamermaid 5 years ago from Universe

      Awesome info,I'm liking the hub!Voted up, useful and awesome!

      I will be trying those excercises and I'm looking into yoga also.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      kmefford 5 years ago

      Very informative and helpful. I will be trying these tips. Just a word more about lifting, have feet at shoulder width apart, bend the knees and keep the back as straight as possible, body square with the object. Keep the load close to the body.

    • Scribenet profile image

      Scribenet 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I am bookmarking. As a young teen I was way taller than my peers and started slouching...even though I am only of average height as an adult, I still tend to slouch if I don't pay attention and exercise seems to help. I will add this to my "to do list". Thanks!

    • lin8t profile image
      Author

      lin8t 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Rastmermaid, thank you for commenting and voting up. I hope you will find these exercises useful. All the best with the yoga

    • lin8t profile image
      Author

      lin8t 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks kmefford for the tip about having your shoulder width apart and bending you knees. Good advice. I hope this works for you, I'm taking it one day at a time.

    • lin8t profile image
      Author

      lin8t 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for your comment Scribenet, I'm trying to be aware of my posture at all times. It forces you into the moment and to pay attention more. I hope the tips will be helpful.

    • profile image

      OLDNAVY 5 years ago

      Thanks for these tips. I'll have to try these both at work and at home.

    • lin8t profile image
      Author

      lin8t 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for your comment OLDNAVY, I hope it helps you. I have to constantly remind myself to do it. Little sticky notes as reminders seem to be helpful. All the best.

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