08 July, 2011
How to Straighten Your Back
Sitting hunched over your computer, wearing sky-high heels or slouching when you walk can all contribute to back pain. When your back is constantly hunched or rounded, your body is required to sustain more pressure than if you'd practiced proper posture. To relieve back pain, look taller and thinner, and relieve the pressure on your back, learn to straighten your back as you go about your daily activities. Easy changes and reminders can help you achieve better posture and a straighter back.
Swap your shoes for something more supportive. When you put your feet into shoes like high heels, your body is forced to adjust your back to make up for the difference in balance. This often causes the compression of the bottom of the spine. Wearing unsupportive shoes like flimsy slip-ons, flip flops or moccasins can cause too much pressure in the back as well. Instead, look for supportive shoes with square toes and less than a one inch heels, Patrice Winter, a spokeswoman for the American Physical Therapy Association tells "USA Today."
Visualize keeping a taut string attached to the top of your head. Visualizations can help you improve your posture and straighten your back. If you think about a string coming from the top of your head like a puppet, you'll immediately straighten your back and neck as you walk. Anytime you feel yourself slouching, the imaginary string can help you keep your back straight while sitting, standing or walking.
Adjust your chair at work for the best possible posture while you're in the office. Ensure that your feet reach the floor, and that you're able to sit up straight or slightly recline, says the McKinley Health Center. If your chair doesn't have lumbar support, use a lumbar cushion so you sit on the edge of the seat, rather than relying on the back of the seat to hold your weight.
Post notes and reminders around you so that a straight back becomes a habit. At first, it may be all too easy to revert to your old ways by slouching while you walk and sit. By reminding yourself daily, you'll gain a straight back as a way of life instead of an occasional goal. Set reminders on your phone, post reminder notes on your computer screen and in your car so you remember to straighten your back.
Enroll in a fitness class that focuses on strengthening the core and lengthening the back muscles. Yoga and pilates are both excellent ways to strengthen and straighten the back, notes "Marie Claire" magazine. Both focus on maintaining the correct posture while strengthening the core muscles that allow you to keep a straight back.
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