After a few hours of sitting at your desk or driving home from work, you may start to notice yourself slouching in your seat. Maybe you need to pick up something off the floor and your initial reaction will be to bend down at your waist thinking it is no big deal. Then you are standing in line at the grocery store with the shopping basket dropping your arm down after you picked up more supplies than you had originally anticipated. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? All of these everyday scenarios have a negative impact on your muscles and joints. After a while, you may start to feel soreness in your lower back. If you find you can relate, it is likely that you have bad posture.
Why Does Posture Matter?
Having good posture is a major element of a healthy lifestyle. Posture refers to the body’s alignment and positioning through the force of gravity.  Posture is critical in helping us maintain balance while we change body positions. It also helps you maintain correct form while exercising and performing everyday tasks, which results in fewer injuries and pain symptoms. 
Poor posture can be directly connected to what is causing you back pain.  When you have poor posture it puts a significant amount of stress on your joints and muscles. This can lead to a variety of physical deficits and limitations in the long term. Pain may occur from injury or inflammation to a body part often caused by poor posture.  Chronic pain negatively affects the ability to participate in one’s everyday activities. If you have bad posture, you may have found your cause for your back pain.
How can I correct my poor posture for back relief?
In order to correct your posture, you must have good proprioception.  The term proprioception is defined as the ability to sense your body position and movement. For instance, as you kick your right leg in the air, you know that the leg lifted off the ground even if your eyes are closed. If you are able to recognize your body position naturally then you will be able to utilize proper body mechanics. Body mechanics is pertinent in maintaining good posture in order to prevent injuries and reduce chronic pain.
For back pain relief, you will need to use proper body mechanics and pacing during physical activities. Principles of correct body mechanics include maintaining a neutral position at your spine and avoid twisting motions. Also, keep your back upright and use the strongest or largest muscles and joints while lifting. For example, bend at your hips and knees and use your legs rather than bend your back or at the waist to pick up items on the floor. While sitting, keep your body in alignment with your head, shoulders, and hips in a vertical line . These principles are all good use of ergonomics.
Exercises to Maintain Correct Posture
In order to maintain proper posture and achieve back pain relief, it is important to always remember to stretch before any physical activity . Start by bringing your arms above your head and then slowly reaching down towards your toes. Stretch out your core by reaching one arm overhead and tilting laterally to lean to the opposite side, and then switch. Hold each position for at least 5 seconds.
- Strengthen your core
Your core is your foundation for balance. Strengthen your core by incorporating plank exercises. Get into a plank position by lowering yourself down to the floor with your head facing down. Then, move onto your forearms and gently lift yourself up. Your body should be in alignment and resemble a plank. Make sure to keep your hips and shoulders aligned and your neck at a neutral spine. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds or try and work up to this time.
- Strengthen your pelvic floor with Pilates
Pilates uses dynamic movements of muscles we do not typically use.  This allows you to find a deeper connection with smaller intrinsic muscle groups to support our larger muscle groups. Start by lying down with your back flat on the ground, soles of your feet on the floor with your head facing up. Next, bend your knees, keep your arms along your sides and curl your hips up. Exhale as your lift up and inhale as you slowly lower your hips to the floor. Keep your glutes tight and belly button drawn into your spine as your exhale and lift up. Repeat 10 times.
Start your positive habit change today with Lumo Lift
Lumo Lift is a small lightweight wearable that tracks and coaches you on your posture, as well as tracks daily activity, such as steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. Compatible with iOS/iPhone and select Android devices. Free shipping, 30-day money back guarantee and 1 year limited warranty.
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