Stand tall, walk tall

How your posture can help alleviate chronic pain.

According to The American Academy of Pain Medicine, about 5 billion people worldwide suffer from “chronic pain,” which means they experience ongoing and/or recurring pain which lasts more than 3-6 months. Although many chronic pain cases are the result of injury and trauma, poor posture has been known to contribute to chronic back pain. So, if what they say is true and poor posture influences back and large joint pain, then improving your posture may help alleviate and or prevent this type of pain.

There are some common-sense reminders you can integrate into your lifestyle to improve your posture. Starting your day off on the right foot begins before you even leave your bed. Doing some simple stretches (imagine cat-like stretches!) can help to elongate your limbs and reset your bones after a night of sleep. In a reclined position, reach your hands above your head, point and flex your toes, or simply wriggle your body on the mattress.

Stand tall, walk tall

Any time you stand up or begin walking, take a moment to correct your postures. First, roll your shoulders clockwise to bring them back to center. Keep your head and eyes up and pointed straight ahead in the direction you’re walking. Avoid looking at the ground, or your feet or walking and texting. When your head and eyes are tilted down in a “lowered head posture”, it strains the spine and adds unwanted pressure to your joints. Think about it: “Looking where you are going” just makes sense, and in some places (Hawaii and New York) it’s become such a danger that “texting-while-walking” has been banned!

Sitting pretty

Your posture while seated is also important to reduce back pain. Supporting your back while seated is a must. You should always sit all the way back with your buttocks firmly touching the back of the chair. Keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Raise your feet with a foot block if you’ll be sitting for a long time. Lastly, if you work with any type of screen, make sure that your screen is positioned at eye level. Looking down for prolonged periods of time is back for your back also in a seated position.

Moving does a body good

Several short breaks throughout the day are ideal. If possible, take a one- to two-minute break every 30 minutes. At the very least, get up and stretch your legs, arms and back every hour if you can.

Don’t let your chronic pain go to your head. Some studies have shown that a significant number of patients with chronic pain tend to develop some form of depression, so it’s important to find the root cause of your pain before it spirals out of control. Remember your health comes first.

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