4 Unhealthy Habits for your spine

1) Poor seated posture.

Much emphasis is put on lumbar supports and back rests as a way of supporting your spine. However, the reality is that your pelvis supports your spine, so it is the angle of the pelvis when seated that is crucial to supporting your spine. The general guideline to follow is to sit at a level where your hips are higher than your knees and ideally on a seat that is slightly tilted forward. This allows the pelvis to maintain a neutral angle.Sitting with your hips level or below your knees causes the pelvis to tilt backwards and the lower back to arch backwards in response. This is why many of us suffer with back pain after sitting on sofas or in cars for too long.

Poor seated posture
2) Arch supports in shoes.

Most of us think the idea of arch supports in shoes is a good thing because we are constantly being fed the idea that if we don’t have them, the arch will collapse. This is a tricky dilema for people with foot pain because arch supports can help with foot pain. But it is usually to the detriment of your overall body mechanics. An arch support will lift the mid foot higher than the heel, causing the heel in effect to drop. This tilts the pelvis backwards and in responce the body goes forward, and hey presto, all the muscles in your body have to work overtime to keep you upright. Conversly, some degree of heel lift is not always a bad thing. Depending on the individual, it can create a more stable alignment through the pelvis and spine. 

3) Sleeping on your front or back.

Most of us have guess that sleeping on your front isn’t great for your spine. It extends and twists your spine. Sleeping on your back is much more preferable but you need to ensure your matress is FIRM and that your head is on a pillow that does not flex the head forward. This means it needs to be low – a folded towel for most people works. Sleeping on your side with a firm pillow at the appropriate height is optimal. The reason a firm mattress is important is that your pelvis is the heaviest part of your body. A soft matress will therefore allow the pelvis to sink in more than the rest of your body, creating a kink in the back.

4) Incorrect work station setup.

Having the correct chair setup (as discussed) is important but so too is the height of your desk and monitor. The keyboard should be at elbow height  when sitting upright and you must be able to get your chair close to the desk so as not to have to reach forward. Arm rests are often an obstical here – if so, loose them!Your monitor should be positioned so that your eyes are level with the middle of the screen. Some guidelines say level with the top of the monitor but then you will still be looking down most of the time so this doesn’t work.

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