Removing Postural Stress For Day and Night

Suggestions to Improve Postural Comfort

Most people are unaware that a full 70% of the bodies energy is spent keeping them in alignment with their center of gravity.  This leaves only 30% for the other needs of the body.

The efforts to improve posture will take perseverance at first, but can yield wonderful benefits by decreasing pain and increasing your energy level throughout the day.

It is typical to feel uncomfortable in the beginning, but over time the new posture will begin seeming natural.  The following are some elementary guidelines to follow to improve posture and ergonomics in the home, workplace and other surroundings.

SITTING POSTURE

  • Be sure your upper back is aligned against the back of your chair.  Avoid slouching, slumping or leaning forward, especially when tired from sitting in a chair for long periods.
  • When sitting at a desk, your arms should be flexed at a 75-90 degree angle at the elbows.   If this is not the case, the chair should be adjusted accordingly.
  • Your knees should be even or slightly higher than your hips when sitting in an office chair.
  • Keep both feet flat on the floor.  If there is a problem with your feet reaching the floor comfortably, a foot rest can be used.
  • Don’t sit in one place too long.  When possible, get up, walk around and stretch.
  • To reduce neck stress, be certain your computer monitor is at eye level or slightly above.  If it is not, use a monitor riser, or any available books to place the monitor on to raise it to a higher level.
  • If you sit a great deal and read or do activities with your hands, don’t lower your head to the activities.  Instead, place your objects on a pillow sitting on your lap to raise the activates upwards towards your eyes.

STANDING AND WALKING POSTURE

  • Stand with your weight mostly on the balls of your feet, not with the weight on the heels.
  • Keep your feet slightly apart; about shoulder width.  Avoid locking the knees.
  • Tuck your chin in a bit to keep the head level on top of your shoulders – not leaning forward.  Stand tall and straight, with your chest out and your shoulders back.
  • If standing for long periods of time, shift your weight from one foot to another, or rock back and forth on your heels.
  • When walking, keep your head up and eyes looking forward.  Keep the shoulders in alignment with the rest of your body – not slouching forward.  Allow your arms to swing naturally.
  • Avoid high-heeled shoes whenever possible, as this is not the naturally intended position of the feet when making contact with the ground.
  • Take an occasional walk and lookup at the sky or stars to help counter the effects of looking forward and down all day long.

LIFTING AND CARRYING POSTURE

  • Always bend at the knees, not at the waist.  This is especially true when lifting heavy weight.
  • Use the leg and stomach muscles for lifting, not the back.
  • When carrying a heavy object, keep it close to the body – your center of gravity.
  • If carrying something with one arm, switch arms frequently and or counterbalance the weight by carrying something of equal weight with the other arm at the same time.
  • When carrying a backpack, keep it as light as possible and balance the weight on both sides as much as possible, or alternate from side to side.   For ergonomically sound posture, it is actually best to carry a backpack on your chest.

SLEEPING POSTURE

  • Avoid sleeping on a broken down mattress.  They frequently will not provide your spine enough support to remain straight at night.
  • The fetal side position is the most natural sleeping posture as it allows the majority of your muscles to shorten and relax during sleep.
  • When sleeping on your back, consider a pillow under your knees.
  • Avoid stomach sleeping
  • Keep your head horizontal with your mattress with a pillow that is not too high.
  • Avoid using more than one pillow.
  • For optimal back sleeping, a pillow under your head should be replaced with a small roll under your neck.  These can be purchased on line or one can be made simply by rolling up a small towel.
  • When waking the morning, take time to stretch each of your muscles.  Stretching activates your microscopic muscles fibers and lengthens your muscles in general for better performance throughout your day.

These suggestions help provide most people with more comfort during the day and night.  If challenges persist, feel free to call our office.  You may be dealing with a more in-depth problem than posture alone.

For an at-home posture exam that may uncover hidden causes of pain, please go to http://www.drjackadrian.com

About the author: Dr. Jack Adrian is a chiropractor with more than 30 years experience in the field of chiropractic.   He is a practicing physician and Director of ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio and has served more than 25,000 individuals in his career.

For help with any additional questions or to set up a complimentary conference to discuss your concerns, feel free to call ChiroCenter in Troy, Ohio at 937-339-5556.

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