Slouching when sitting
Slouching typically consists of rounding the spine into flexion. The strain on the back while sitting in a slouched position can cause excessive pressure on the joints, muscles, and discs, causing pain.
• Focus on sitting up straight with a small arch in your lower back, shoulders back and head upright.
• Invest in an ergonomic computer chair which will provide proper lumbar and pelvic support.
• Take frequent breaks from sitting – stand, walk, stretch & move.
Carrying things on one side of the body
Do you always carry shopping in the same hand? Do you sling your laptop bag or handbag over the same shoulder? This overuse of one arm or shoulder will cause one shoulder to drop lower than the other and often rotate forward. This creates an imbalance down your spine and into your hips leading to neck, shoulder, back or hip pain.
• Switch arms and shoulders frequently.
• Consider using a backpack instead of a handbag. Always wear both shoulder straps rather than slinging your backpack with one strap on one shoulder. Adjust the shoulder straps so the backpack is high on your back and the shoulder straps are comfortable on your shoulders.
Standing on a dominant leg
Over time most people have developed a dominant leg which is stronger and more stable than the other side and this can cause problems. Do you catch yourself standing with the weight on one leg? Do you shift your hips to the side when standing? Favouring one leg or shifting your hips can throw your body out of balance causing a misalignment of your hips, back, shoulders and neck.
• Focus on standing with the weight distributed evenly. Bear the weight primarily on the balls of the feet.
• Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart with toes pointing forward.
Looking down at your mobile phone (text neck)
Text neck is not an official medical diagnosis, but rather a term commonly used for a repetitive stress injury where excessive texting or mobile device use is believed to be the primary cause. Text neck symptoms can include: Pain in the neck, upper back, and/or shoulders, forward head posture, rounded shoulders and reduced mobility in the neck, upper back, and shoulders.
• Raise the phone. Move the phone (and other devices) up closer to eye level so the head does not have to be tilted forward.
• Stand up straight. Good posture, with the chin tucked in and shoulders pulled back, keeps the body aligned in a neutral position.
• Limit the amount of time spent on the mobile phone.
Sitting with legs crossed
Sitting for long periods of time with your leg over your knee can cause your pelvis to rotate and tilt. This can cause pain in the lower back. In addition, a study published in the ‘Journal of Hypertension’ found a spike in blood pressure when participants crossed their legs at knee level, or when placing their ankle on their knee – there was no spike when legs were crossed at the ankle.
• Sit with your legs crossed at the ankle.
• Try to use a chair that gives you adequate back support. This is because our desire to sit with our legs crossed arises unconsciously from an attempt to relieve stress in the lower back and hips.
Keeping wallet in back pocket of trousers
Sitting on your wallet – or cellphone – all day is not only uncomfortable—it may be provoking symptoms of sciatic pain. Spending long hours sitting with one hip elevated creates an imbalance in your spine, which in turn places stress on the lumbar discs near your sciatic nerve roots.
• Use a money clip or slim-style wallet that fits in your front pocket.
• Avoid a wallet altogether—use your cell phone for routine purchases.