“How should I set up my desk?”
“Is lying on my back the best position?”
“What type of mattress should I get if sleeping with a bad back?”
We get asked a lot about the best postures to look after your spine, and today I’m going to answer them for you. There’s one posture that is definitely the worst for your spine and body. It’s… the one you spend the most time in!
Essentially as humans we are designed to move. Sitting in the car to work, then 8 hours at a desk etc is not great. No wonder sitting has been described as the new smoking.
The key to a healthy spine is movement. Although there are better postures than others, we are not designed to sit or stand in the perfect position and not move – variety is key. And that’s why standing desks are becoming so popular. It’s not because you’re standing, it’s because you can alternate between sitting and standing, changing your posture regularly.
So yes, that means there’s nothing wrong with slouching. The problem with slouching is if you do it all the time and stay in that posture for a long period. It’s the accumulative effect that’s bad.
Having said all the above, I do have some handy tips for you:
- When sitting, try not to cross your legs and keep both your feet on the ground with your hips slightly higher than your knees. Have what you’re doing at eye level, or as high as possible to avoid slumping forward. Most importantly take regular breaks.
- When standing, aim to keep your weight evenly distributed between both feet. Lightly engage your core muscles and buttocks and imagine a piece of string on the top of your head lifting you upwards. This will help to improve your standing posture for a healthy spine and back.
- Is sleeping on your back bad? No – but when sleeping, it’s best to try and avoid sleeping on your front. The best sleeping position for lower back pain (and to protect your spine) is on your side, in the foetal position with a pillow or edge of the duvet between your knees. You’ll also need a thick enough pillow to keep your neck inline with the rest of your spine. When sleeping on your back, use a thinner pillow and try a pillow underneath your knees to take strain off your back.
Keep moving and changing postures regularly and I’ll see you next month.