It’s your poor sitting posture that is to blame for your pains. Luckily, sometimes all that is needed to get rid of pains and aches, is a few simple posture corrections that you can apply instantly. Here are my three tips:
Tip 1: Gently Arch Your Low Back
Sitting for hours on end fatigues your core muscles, and you may end up sitting in a slumped position that robs your lumbar spine of it’s natural arch (I’m sure you know what I’m talking about). Slumping causes lower-back pains and can lead to bulging and herniated disks.
A simple way to correct the alignment of your lumbar spine is to position the base of your chair so that it slopes gently downward. This elevates your hips above your knees and helps recreate the natural arch in your lower back.
The downward slope can be achieved either by using the adjustments of your office chair* to tilt the seat downward or by placing a wedge-shaped cushion under your sitting bones. If it’s not possible to adjust your chair, even folding a blanket and placing it under your buttocks (not thighs) might work.
You only need a gentle arch in your low back, there is no need to exaggerate.
* Not all office chairs have this adjustment
Tip 2: Shoulders Back And Down
This time we want to align your shoulders squarely over your hips. You can do that by rolling your shoulders slightly forward, up, backward and down – as if you were performing a small shoulder roll. In the end position your shoulders should be resting down and back without much tension.
It’s possible you find this position difficult to maintain, if your pectoral and upper-trapezius muscles are very weakened and short. In that case you may need some strengthening and stretching exercises to correct the situation.
Tip 3: Lose That Forward-Head Posture
Now that your hips and shoulders are properly aligned, you need to get your head in place. 🙂 Holding your neck in a forward-head position is the biggest cause of neck pains and tension headaches.
To get your head aligned over your shoulders, inch you head backward so that your ear openings are lined up with the bony tips of your shoulders. In this position you chin should be slightly tucked, but not tilted upwards or downwards. (Unfortunately, I also have a double chin in this position.)
To be able to keep you neck correctly positioned, you may need to bring your computer monitor closer and perhaps increase the font size. If you use a laptop, it’s a good idea to use a separate keyboard and monitor.
What if these tips for improving your sitting posture don’t bring you any relief from pain? Or perhaps you’ve tried them already and realized your muscles are too weak and tight for you to maintain the new posture.
If you have a desk job and have been sitting in a poor posture for years, it’s quite possible your muscles are shortened and weak from the long abuse and simply won’t respond the way they should.
In that case, check Natalie Cordova’s posture correction dvd for a comprehensive stretching and strengthening exercises to retrain your sitting posture.
P.S. It is possible to get rid of chronic tension headaches and the like. I’m a living proof of that.