Sometimes, the thing that bothers us the most when we’re at work aren’t the gruelling deadlines nor the terror bosses. Sometimes, what grinds our gears the most is just back pain: frequent, subversive, and demoralizing back pain.
While we can point the finger at factors like accidents or diseases, Canadian licensed Doctor of Chiropractic Barry Kluner says that the root cause for back pain is simply bad posture. Apparently, we're just not built to sit, but that's exactly what we do all the time.
“Think about a day,” says Dr. Kluner. “You go to work, you drive or you [take the] bus, you get to work, you sit. You go to lunch with friends, you sit, then go back to the office, and you sit, then you go back on a bus or car, you go home and sit, and then you join your family, and you sit.”
It probably wouldn’t be such a problem if we’ve mastered the art of sitting down, but not many people sit correctly. We have, however, a chance to change that. At the launch of BackJoy, a supportive back orthotic designed to correct posture and relieve back pain, FN was able to ask Dr. Kluner for pointers on how to put a stop to back pain due to bad posture. Below are his suggestions:
1. Confirm the cause of back pain.
While bad posture is indeed the usual culprit, it’s still important that you double-check where your pain is coming from. Take a good look at your lifestyle or see a specialist. “You can’t simply just rely on things like posture tools and all sorts of factors. Even fitness doesn’t help,” says Dr. Kluner. “Find out what’s wrong. Know what the back pain’s cause is, and then you know what you can do.”
2. Engage your core muscles.
If you’re sure that bad posture is the source of your back pain, start engaging your core muscles. Whenever you have free time, try doing v-sits, bicycle abs, and reverse crunches—these are examples of basic core exercises, which don’t only stabilize your thorax and your pelvis during movement but also reduce back pain.
3. Look at the ergonomic arrangement of your work station.
Is your seat too high or too low? Is your desk just the right height for someone like you? Configure your seating arrangement to help you sit correctly. “The correct way of sitting is neutral, which means your pelvis itself, the seat of your spine needs to be underneath your back,” explains Dr. Kluner. “The problem is with sitting, and we’re all doing it right now, is that everybody’s flat on their bottom, and their back has gone back, too. So if your bottom goes flat, your lower back goes with it. So, the simple thing is where the pelvis goes the back follows.”
4. Maintain proper posture.
Once you’ve figured out how to sit correctly, don’t let yourself slouch back to the position your body is used to. It may take a while for you to naturally adapt to proper posture, but it’s the only way you can keep your back pain off your back in the long run.
5. Eat a healthy diet.
A healthy diet affects your posture in more ways than one. “It makes the muscles have a better energy support. It makes the muscles last longer. It helps the body recover faster, which means you can sustain posture in a longer way.”
(Photo by Michael Dorausch via michaeldorausch.com)