Posture to prevent back pain: Best tips for a healthy back

Megan Smith
 min read

Posture to prevent back pain is essential, and varies according to what you’re doing.

Posture to prevent back pain: Best tips for a healthy backEvery day, we perform actions that, if repeated and improperly performed, can cause back pain like carrying a load, working in front of a computer, carrying a backpack.

Posture is as important as breathing clean air. It is the first step towards back pain prevention and cure. Whether you’re sitting at a work desk, at the dinner table or just watching Netflix, there is a right way which will make sitting down a relief.

Read on to avoid the activities that can strain our backs if we don’t follow some basic principles, and learn to do what’s right.

Posture to prevent back pain: Introduction

We all have different bodies, do different activities, and have different health conditions, which is why there is no such thing as a universal ideal posture.

The best postures respect your own body’s curvatures, as long as they are diversified, mobile, and not maintained in a prolonged or repetitive manner.

However, there are a few basic principles to know to avoid back pain.

The right posture in front of a computer

Sitting in front of a computer requires prolonged immobilization of the upper body, leading to muscle exhaustion. The first thing to do is to organize your workstation properly.

Posture when sitting in an office chair

Prevent a void from forming between the lower back and the chair by placing a small pillow or rolled towel to ensure support for your lower back. Be sure to keep your head, shoulders and pelvis aligned.

Ankles, knees and elbows should all be at about a 90-degree angle. Use a footrest if necessary.

Keep your most frequently used items (mouse, keyboard, phone) within easy reach. This reduces repetitive movements that can weaken the joints in the long term.

The right posture when sitting in front of a screen

The distance between your eyes and the screen should match the length of your arm.

It should be placed so that your eyes, looking straight ahead, are about 4 inches from the top of the screen.

The computer should be placed directly in front of you to avoid head and shoulder rotation.

If possible, try to take 10-minute breaks (by getting up) every 2 hours.

Even if you don’t get up, stretching or relaxing your shoulders and jaw for a few minutes can prevent back pain.

Sleeping posture

When you’re sleeping, we grant you that it’s hard to think about adopting the right posture to avoid weakening your back. But there are a few tips to know before you fall into the arms of Morpheus.

Lying down allows the muscles to relax, so there is less tension on the back than standing or sitting. A good lying posture preserves the alignment between the head, the pelvis and the feet.

To avoid tension in the pelvis and lower back, the spine should be perfectly aligned and the legs should be parallel.

Some positions create gaps to be filled between your body and the mattress. The muscles are relaxed, the ligaments take over and tension starts to makes itself felt.

Sleeping on your side

When the hips’ width is much greater than the width of the waist, there is a gap between the mattress and the body, at the level of the arch of the back.

Fill this space by sliding a small roll under your waist. You can find these in specialized stores but you can also make them with a towel.

It is also advisable to place one or two pillows under the knees. The pillow placed under the head must fill the hollow that forms at the nape of the neck.

Sleeping on your stomach

Lying on your stomach can cause back and neck pain.

It is best to avoid adopting it for a long time, especially if you feel pain in these areas when you wake up.

Sleeping on your back

Place a cushion under the knees to keep the head, pelvis, and feet aligned.

If you don’t suffer from pain when you wake up, don’t focus on these tips. When your body can no longer tolerate one position during sleep, you naturally change position.

Driving posture

It is important to position your seat so that your head, shoulders, and pelvis are in line when driving.

Therefore, the headrest should be close to the head and there should be no space between the lower back and the seat. 

If necessary, place a cushion at the level of the camber. As for the right distance between you and the steering wheel, you should position the seat so that your wrists can rest on the steering wheel with your arms outstretched.

The inclination angle between the pelvis and the legs should be 90 degrees. Once again, place a cushion beneath you to adjust if necessary.

Beware, for people with serious back problems such as herniated discs, it is better not to make long trips as a driver. And don’t forget, when driving, a break is necessary every 100 minutes.

Related post: How to get rid of nervous energy and the importance of rest

The right posture to sit on a sofa

Falling into a cozy couch after a long day at work is very tempting.

But beware, the couch can also be an enemy for your back. Especially if you’re uncomfortable on it.

Tip: Check out the best plus size furniture for extra-large folks.

You don’t know it, but when you’re lying on the couch with your head turned toward the TV or sleeping with your neck bent too far forward, your positions are similar to those of a contortionist.

Avoid prolonged twisting of the head or upper body, especially when reading or watching television. Also, vary the positions when you are sitting.

For example, sit on your knees with your buttocks resting on your heels, with several pillows in between for comfort. This will allow you to keep an upright posture on the sofa, though you may not be able to hold it for very long.

In any case, the point here is that we should try to move positions often to keep our bodies active.

Sitting properly at the dinner table

As with sitting at work, it is best not to sit too long at the dinner table.

When the family meal drags on, we relax by arching our backs and looking for a support point with our elbows.

As a result, the joints are in an extremely stretched position.

Try to keep your head, pelvis and feet aligned and do not sit for more than 2 consecutive hours.

Sitting on the floor posture

Sitting on the floor can quickly become unpleasant because of the lack of a backrest.

That’s why we often change our position: cross-legged, one leg straight and the other bent, arms around the knees.

Don’t stay in a “curled up” position, i.e. one leg bent and the other on the ground, head down and back bent.

Favor a kneeling position which avoids bending the back too much (as long as you keep your head and pelvis aligned). For more comfort, place a cushion under the them.

The cross-legged position is another option, if you keep your head and neck in line with the spine.

Posture to prevent back pain: Conclusion

It’s not just a matter of sitting down, but sitting down properly.

Whether you’re at a family dinner, or at work, you can easily prevent back pain by maintaining a posture to prevent back pain by sitting down in such a manner that will offer relief and relaxation without harm.

Related postHow to prevent back pain: Causes, tips, exercises & postures

About Megan Smith

Megan has been fighting overweight and her plus size since her teenage years. After trying all types of remedies without success, she started doing her own research. Megan founded Plus Size Zeal to share her findings. She also developed various detailed buying guides for plus-size people in order to make their lives easier and more comfortable. Read More