Grandma was right! Posture is Important!

Sit up straight!

Grandma was right, posture is important and helps to keep your spine aligned and healthy. Below are a few tips to help prevent and heal back pain that might be caused by some of your every day activities.

Sitting at your desk

You’ve probably heard about ergonomic office furniture, but you don’t need anything fancy to keep your spine in a natural and healthy position.

  • Knees: Aim for your knees bent at 90 degrees (so feet are comfortably flat on the floor), this should be achievable with an adjustable height chair, cushion or footrest.
  • Elbows: Should also be bent at 90 degrees when you are typing or writing. Utilize your keyboard drawer or install an inexpensive hinge drawer underneath your desk. If you’re tall, you may need to prop up your keyboard with a platform.
  • Back: Pinch your shoulder blades together and eyes look straight ahead. These actions will bring the shoulders back and engage the back muscles that tend to get stretched in a way that could lead to rounded shoulders and poor head posture.
  • Laptops/Tablets: I know its called a LAPtop… but when used this way the neck tends to strain and the shoulders slump. Consider a wireless keyboard.
  • Why? Poor posture (especially for prolonged periods, like say 40+ hours a week) can lead to headaches, fatigue, irritability, increase in cortisol levels and back pain.


Whether you are making sales calls or driving your family around, many of us spend much of our time in the car.

  • Seat Angle: Position your shoulders slightly behind your hips so that your back is angled greater than 90 degrees to your legs. (Looking for 100-110 degrees approximately)
  • Seat Tilt and Distance: Tilt the seat so there is even support from your tailbone to hamstrings. Avoid pressure points at the end of the seat. Adjust the seat distance so there is at least a little room between the chair and the backs of your knees.
  • Lumbar support: Your spine has a natural S shape to it, and using the lumbar adjustment (aftermarket options are available if your car doesn’t have this control) on the back of your seat will help to maintain that curve. Imagine two extremes 1. Lying on a wooden floor (uncomfortable and there would be space under your low back that was not touching the planks) or 2. Doing a back bend in a yoga class (s-curve is being pushed out…ok for a few minutes- but not a long drive).
  • When driving, you want to find that happy medium where the back of the chair is touching the whole spine, but your chest is not being thrust forward.
  • Exiting the car: Try leaving your car by pivoting in the seat as if you were in a swivel chair. Swing both feet toward the step or ground. This way you avoid always putting repeated pressure on the same hip and knee.

Dominant side habits

  • Bags: We are creatures of habit and tend to haul around handbags, backpacks and briefcases on the same side of our body putting more stress on that side and potentially causing neck, shoulder and back strain. Try to alternate sides every so often, or even better use a messenger style or crossbody bag that allows weight to be distributed more evenly. Use both straps on a backpack, and insist your kids do too!
  • Physical job or hobby? Notice if you are carrying heavy objects on only one side. If possible switch sides at regular intervals to prevent overuse.

Sometimes you’re going to be in a position that is not ideal for your alignment. Make sure to take breaks to stretch or take a short walk every so often. If you still find yourself aching after making these adjustments, come see me and we can figure out what’s going on