Q: My posture at work is terrible. Should I use a posture corrector or posture brace?
A: Back pain is now the second most common reason North Americans visit the doctor (after the common cold). With an estimated 80% of North Americans sitting for their work and averaging more than 11 hours per day seated, it’s no wonder that posture-related health issues are going through the roof. Humans have never been so stationary in our entire existence! But no matter how much our parents have nagged us to “sit up straight”, our bodies weren’t designed to sit, they were designed to move.
Almost all previous work involved moving constantly—bending, lifting, standing, and walking—so posture-related pain in the workplace is a relatively new thing. When our spine is chronically out of its natural alignment, the muscles that support our spine become imbalanced. Some muscles atrophy while others are in constant strain. The result is pain, lack of energy, muscle exhaustion, headaches, bad mood, osteoporosis, lack of balance, and even compromised immune function.
Recently there have been a plethora of products invented to remind us to get up and move, alert us to stretch and straighten, or brace us into a ‘neutral spine’. While these devices can give us a glimpse of correct posture, they do not fix the underlying issues—they are like bandaids, and should only be used temporarily.
6 actions that you should try to habituate to make your good posture permanent:
- Learn what neutral spine is (get a C.H.E.K postural alignment assessment)
- Lengthen some of our chronically tight muscles (sign up for weekly gentle Hatha Yoga class)
- Strengthen our core and stabilizing muscles (sign up for a weekly pilates class and strengthen your back and neck muscles, not just the chest)
- Move (functional fitness and HIIT classes), and remind yourself to stand and walk whenever you are on a phone call
- Ergonomically adjust our workspace (standing desks, elevated computer screens, forearm supported keyboard)
- Build your mindfulness practice to constantly scan and readjust our body posture until it becomes habituated
Once you implement the above, you will notice your back and neck pain subsiding substantially. If you’d like to read more about the dangers of sitting, read our article, Why Sitting Is Bad For You and 5 Ways To Fix It.
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