Sore lower back getting you down? You’re not alone. Stats show that over 80% of Canadians will experience back pain at some point in their lives. The causes are many—from sprains, strains and injury to the more chronic arthritis, osteoporosis, and even depression—but there’s another sneaky contributor that you may not have considered.
Thanks to our increasingly sedentary and tech-addicted lifestyles, we’re not standing as tall and strong as we used to. We spend much of our time hunching over computers at the office, slouching on the couch watching TV, and staring at our smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets du jour. And the result of all of this habitual poor posture? Aches, pains, muscle fatigue, and a whole lot of stress on your lower back.
The damage caused by poor posture has a cumulative effect, meaning the long-term effects can be devastating to not just your lower back, but also your overall health and wellbeing. But the good news is that there are many easy ways to counteract the effects of poor posture. Just remember that poor posture is an unconscious habit, so you’ll have to work hard to retrain your body to maintain a healthy position. It may feel strange at first, but your body will thank you!
Here are just a few things to keep in mind:
- Most people spend several hours per day shooting off texts or emails on their smartphone. While efficient, the downside of this technology is that our necks are often bent at unnatural angles—up to 45 degrees! And for every inch your head moves forward, your neck has to support an extra 10 pounds. So, make an effort to look at your devices with a neutral spine, which generally means your ears, shoulders, and hips are in alignment. (It wouldn’t hurt either to replace some of your tech-time with a low-impact workout!)
- When working away at the computer, position your monitor so you only have to move your eyes to see the entire screen. Usually, that means the top of the monitor should be in line with your eyes. Also, sit at least a foot and a half away from the screen, keep your elbows by your sides, and keep your feet flat on the floor.
- Most standard office chairs don’t do your back any favours. Make sure your chair fits you and has good back support.
- Whether you’re sitting or standing, try not to stay in one position for more than a few minutes.
- When standing, remember to keep your shoulders back and relaxed, pull in your abdomen, and keep your knees slightly bent.
- Try to sleep in a position which helps you maintain the natural curves in your back, such as on your back with a pillow under your knees or on your side with your knees slightly bent.
In addition to being more aware of your day-to-day posture, massage therapy can also provide significant healing and relief from lower back pain. It has been shown to alleviate muscle spasms, restore a pain-free range of motion and improve circulation, all of which will help you live a more comfortable and active life.
Our Registered Massage Therapists will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that’s comprehensive and complete, and based on your unique needs. So if you’re suffering from lower back pain, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us or book an appointment online at our massage clinic in Victoria BC.