We put our bodies through a lot of wear and tear, and we often make it worse by ignoring proper body alignment as we attend to our daily activities. Standing up straight is important, but maintaining correct posture is important to implement in every aspect of life to avoid injury – both chronic and acute.
During Chores: Housekeeping and yard work often require repetitive movements, and if you do them regularly without paying attention to your body alignment, you can end up with chronic pain. For example, when you load your dishwasher, you should first stand straight to avoid slumping your shoulders, then bend your knees to squat if you are able. When vacuuming, keep your body fluid and shift your weight from knee to knee, rather than pushing with your arms or bending your waist.
At Your Desk: It’s very easy to forget to sit properly at work, especially when you work at a desk all day. First things first, it’s important to take lots of breaks to stretch. When you’re sitting, make sure both feet are in front of you, on the floor; straighten your back, bring your chest forward, and raise your head. If this posture doesn’t suit your workspace, think about switching things up. For instance, you can add a shelf to your desk to raise the height of your monitor to make it visible when you’re properly aligned.
Using Your Phone: Now that cell phones have been mainstays in our life for more than a decade, we’re starting to see the detriments the devices have on our bodies. “Text neck” has become a literal pain in the neck for many people. To avoid the painful condition, it’s important to take plenty of breaks from your phone, to sit up straight, and to hold your phone higher when using it.
Watching TV: In the olden days, we’d sit around the TV in short bursts when our favorite shows were airing. Now, we can spend an entire day laying around watching Netflix or catching up on our DVR library. This can lead to many hours spent in some pretty crazy positions. When you’re watching TV, avoid precarious positions, and consider your body alignment – whether you’re sitting or lying down.
When You Sleep: Sorry side- and stomach-sleepers, but it may be time to rethink your sleeping position. To ensure proper support while you snooze, it’s best to sleep on your back. It can be hard to train yourself to sleep that way, especially since you can’t mindfully control if you turn over while you’re sleeping, but using pillows on either side of you to block your movement can help you stay supported and wake up feeling soothed instead of sore.
At our Chicago pain management center, we often see avoidable injuries caused due to body misalignment during daily activities. To learn more about proper body alignment for specific behaviors, talk to your doctor, or check out some of these recommendations from the National Osteoporosis Foundation.