Lower back pain affects one out of 10 people worldwide, and causes more disability around the world than any other condition. It accounts for a third of all work-related disability, revealed a study by the Sydney School of Public Health. Experts suggested that though the reasons for low back pain could be varied, one of the important contributing factors behind the nagging back pain is the incorrect posture. This means that one can considerably cut the chances of back and neck pain and other allied illnesses by maintaining the correct posture while sitting or standing.
Sports therapist Megha Bhatnagar of AktivOrtho said, "Good posture mainly refers to maintaining your body in a correct alignment with respect to gravity so that the body structures such as ligaments, muscles are in the least stressed position."
In the modern urban lifestyle, where white-collar jobs require people to sit for long hours, it is imperative to take good care of the spine health. One of the least interventionist and easiest first steps is to maintain a right posture while sitting. The right posture decreases stress on ligaments and muscles holding the spine in an erect position. It reduces abnormal wear and tear of the joints, eases strain on the muscles and thus prevents neck pain, back pain, shoulder and knee pain and the like. The Sydney School of Public Health study found that the highest rates of disability due to back pain are found in Asia and parts of Africa.
Dr. Raju Vaishya, senior orthopedic consultant at the Indraprastha Apollo hospital said, "Improper posture in the long-term can give rise to chronic neck and low back problems. Therefore, it is very important to maintain a good posture whilst sitting and standing."
Bhatnagar said, "Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back. Your buttocks should touch the back of your chair. All three normal back curves should be present while sitting. A small, rolled-up towel or a lumbar roll can be used to help you maintain the normal curves in your back. To achieve the right sitting position, sit at the end of your chair and slouch completely. Then draw yourself up and accentuate the curve of your back as far as possible. Hold for a few seconds. Release the position slightly (about 10 degrees). This is a good sitting posture. While sitting in a chair, keep your knees even with or slightly higher than your hips. Your legs should not be crossed."
Dr. Yashpal Singh Bundela, senior neurosurgery consultant at the BLK Super Speciality Hospital said, "One should not sit in one position for more than 30 minutes. Also, you should adjust the height of your chair so that your thighs come in a parallel position to the floor."
Besides, there are a few more precautions that experts recommend one should always keep in mind. For example, when sitting in a chair that rolls and pivots, do not twist at the waist while sitting. Instead, turn your whole body. Similarly, while standing, do so by straightening your legs. Avoid bending forward at your waist. Bhatnagar said, "Try and go to your colleague's desk and discuss rather than over the inter-com or through chat."
Dr. Vaishya said, "One can also use backrests available in the market. Backrests can give sufficient support to the lower back and are especially useful for people who cannot keep their back and buttocks splinted against the chair at all times. Also, it is important to have a good chair. Poor furniture does not provide ample support to back and thighs and thus, poorly designed chairs may create problems in the long run."