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How to Improve Your Posture and Reduce Back Pain

By Staff Writer
Share to PinterestHow to Improve Your Posture and Reduce Back Pain
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Good posture is about more than just grace; it's a vital attribute that affects your well-being from head to toe. Practicing proper posture can help improve everything from your circulation and respiration to your digestive system and self-confidence. It puts less pressure on your joints and muscles, which results in reduced back pain and less chance of injury in the long-term.

By implementing just a few simple ideas, you can wave stressful back pain bye-bye.

01

Switch up your sitting positions

Switching up your sitting position provides numerous benefits for your entire body, not just your back. It reduces pressure on the vertebrae and helps strengthen your core, resulting in less pain and muscle aches while you move through the day. Each time you switch positions, the need to check and improve posture increases your control of it, so your spine naturally starts moving into the proper position.

While it takes some practice, switching your sitting can improve your spinal health and help your body stay in alignment — good news for you, bad news for your chiropractor. Try setting a timer on your computer that prompts you to adjust every half hour or so.

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02

Be aware of your posture

If you want to improve your posture long-term, start becoming aware of it during daily activities, such as sitting, cooking dinner, and running errands. You might slouch more sitting in front of the TV than at work meetings, for instance, and once you become aware of this, you can start making changes.

Use this classic trick: pretend a string extends from the top of your head through your shoulders, hips, and knees down to your toes. Stand up straight as if someone is yanking on the string, gently pulling your shoulders back into a straightened, yet relaxed, position (don't force your chest out or shrug up; those positions aren't sustainable or good posture, either).

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03

Embrace arch support

If you spend a large part of the day on your feet, shoes make all the difference. The wrong pair will not only cause pain and discomfort but can lead to your shoulders, back, and hips falling into misalignment, especially over time. Opt for a low-heeled pair with arch support to help mold your feet into place, keep your body aligned, and encourage proper posture and balance all day.

High heels or boots may look fashionable, but they also drastically increase the curve of your lower back, creating a high level of unnecessary tension and stress that's easy to start fixing with a change of shoes.

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04

Get support while you sit

To have proper posture while seated, your back, hips, and thighs should have significant support. Since most chairs don't offer this, reach for a small lumbar pillow or a rolled-up towel. A lumbar pillow is designed to support your spine's natural curvature, relieving pressure and encouraging proper posture. Place it at the lower end of your chair, experimenting with placement until you find the perfect spot to support and relieve your lower back. When your muscles can finally relax, your back will thank you.

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05

Always lift properly

You might assume that it's faster or easier to just grab something quickly and go, but even if you've got strength in spades, it's always important to lift with your legs. Lifting incorrectly can lead to intense pain or injury; it creates muscle spasms in specific parts of your back and puts strain on your hips and knees that could be potentially damaging, if not dangerous.

If something is too much of a struggle to lift on your own using your leg muscles, ask for help. Your ego's never worth a bad (or broken) back.

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06

Keep your weight in check

Maintaining a healthy weight for your body—this is different for everyone and doesn't necessarily equal "thin"—is ideal for improving numerous health issues, and back pain is one of them. Over time, the strain caused by excess weight does a number on your back, and the longer and heavier you are, the more these effects are amplified.

To accommodate the extra pounds, the spine often becomes unevenly curved, tilted, or strained. Over time, this could result in an unnatural curve with too much stress on the muscles and joints, and that's not ideal for anyone.

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07

Make stretching a daily habit

Get a move on! Stretching doesn't have to be difficult, and it works wonders on stiff, aching muscles. Tense back muscles have a domino effect; they bolster the stress on your entire spine and could cause significant discomfort if you don't loosen them up.

Stretching for just 15 minutes a day can help give your muscles a boost and encourage good spinal health moving forward. Try it; you might just notice a difference.

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08

Strengthen your core

When the muscles surrounding your spine are strong, they help keep your body's support system strong and pressure-free. Stabilizing your core is beneficial for your entire body, so try targeted exercises such as planks, crunches, and Russian twists.

In just a few minutes a day, you can strengthen your body and reduce your pain level substantially.

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09

Do back extensions

Extending your back is one of the best ways to get a good stretch in, and it's easy to do anytime. Lie on your stomach with your legs straight and hands beside chest, upper arms along your torso.

Press into your hands to lift your chest up off the floor, arching the back just to the point where it feels difficult—don't overdo it. Hold here for a few seconds, breathing deeply, before lowering yourself back onto your stomach.

Share to PinterestWoman doing back extension exercise on fit ball with online trainer.
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10

Practice child's pose

Share to PinterestWoman using bolster in restorative yoga childs pose

Give your lower back a good stretch and open your hips with this yoga class classic. Get down onto your hands and knees, then sit your seat back until you're sitting on your heels or as close as you can get. Drape your torso over your thighs and stretch the arms out past your head or lie them alongside your shins.

You should be able to relax into this pose, so explore some modifications if it doesn't feel nice. This easy-to-do stretch is a great way to wind up or cool down after a workout session, but it's also a perfect choice for unwinding after a long day standing or sitting.

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