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Sit Up! The Secret to Back Pain Relief

Are you suffering from chronic back pain and soreness? It could be due to your posture. Many things can contribute to back pain, but good posture is something you can correct on your own without spending any money. You can even do it without your mom standing over your shoulder, saying “Sit up!” Here are a few quick, easy tips to help you find your ideal posture. You may have to remind yourself consciously to have good posture for a few days or weeks before it becomes habit and you begin to see a difference in your back pain.

Why Posture

Your posture refers to the alignment of your body when standing, sitting, or walking. Generally, your head, neck, shoulders, stomach, hips, and legs should be evenly aligned. If something is out of alignment, it can cause nerves to pinch or one side of the body to feel more stress than another side. Good posture helps you distribute your weight evenly and avoid the pain that can develop from maintaining a misaligned posture for too long.

How to Correct It: Standing

Start with a mirror. View yourself from the front, side, and back (holding a smaller mirror to see the back). From the front and back, determine whether you are standing straight or putting more weight on one side or the other. You can also try walking towards the mirror to make sure your stride is even. From the side, align your posture by imagining a vertical line running from your ear, through your shoulder, your hip, your knee, and to your ankle. Remember, the back should have a natural S-like curve when viewed from the side, but from the front or back, it should appear as a straight line.

How to Correct It: Sitting

Try a similar posture test while sitting, especially if you spend a lot of time sitting each day. When sitting, make sure you bend your legs at 90-degree angles, your back is straight, and you distribute your weight evenly on the chair. A good office chair with back support can help support good posture. Make sure you can look straight ahead at your computer monitor without constantly having to twist your neck, because this can affect your spine as well. Resist the urge to slouch or cross your legs. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.

Maintain It

Now that you know what it feels like to stand or sit with good posture, you need to practice it until it becomes habit and you no longer have to remind yourself to “sit up.” You can also strengthen your back, core, and shoulder muscles as part of your exercise routine so your body will naturally be able to support a good, upright posture.

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