Something I have struggled with a lot in my life is figuring out the best posture for back pain. My back problems date to 1999 when I had surgery. I had always been very active, and after about 6 months of pain shooting down my right leg, I went under the knife. The purpose of this post is to share with you my journey to find proper posture.
Even after having surgery, I have a long history of back pain, so surgery was definitely not a permanent solution. I never did any of my own research on how to care for my back, but rather I relied on other people and some of those people didn’t give me very good advice.
In recent years, since my battle with spinal stenosis in 2016, I have a much better appreciation of how my posture has a dramatic effect on back pain. So, let’s get into some of the things I have to watch out for.
Best posture for back pain
Every day battle
Honestly, posture is a battle for me every single day. What I am looking for in my own posture is a neutral spine, which maintains the natural curvature of the spine. I always have to make sure my head is up, shoulders are back and I am not leaning forward.
I will walk by a mirror and see myself a little hunched over, so I have to straighten up. I notice at my desk at work, I slouch and have to make sure I am in proper posture mode. Usually, when my head hits the desk, this is a stark reminder to me LOL.
Sitting on the toilet
Without going into detail, yes sitting on the toilet requires me to maintain good posture. It’s easy to slouch and I have to remember not to. I can’t let my guard down, even when I am on the toilet.
Washing my hands
Of course, after sitting on the toilet, the next step is to wash my hands. As crazy as this may sound, bending over to use the sink was at one point very hard for me to do. Throughout my life, I have dealt with sciatic nerve pain, at times it has been excruciating. A simple act like using a sink to wash my hands would send shooting pain down my right leg. I was pretty much forced to bend my knees to lower myself enough to use the sink.
Yes, this looked as awkward as it felt, but that was my life for quite some time. Sciatic nerve pain can cause something as simple as using a sink to be very challenging without proper posture.
Shoes and socks
This has been a really tough task for me at times in my life. Whenever I put my shoes and socks on I put my feet, one at a time, upon a trunk in my bedroom. This trunk a great height for me, so I can just bend at the waist to put on my shoes and socks. I have one foot flat on the floor, and the other on the trunk and this way I can bend using my hips and keep my spine neutral. Maybe a chair or a stool would be the right height for you. If you are really tall, you might need to use a counter or tabletop. I actually do this sometimes when I am traveling and it works just fine.
Picking things up
There are a couple of different ways I pick things up off the floor to maintain my posture. The first is a lunge. One leg out in front, the other behind and then I lower myself by bending into the front knee. I do this a LOT. When I am getting laundry out of the dryer, I use a lunge to lower my torso. Taking out the trash, I perform a lunge to get the trash can out. I have really incorporated this into my life on a lot of different levels.
Some people have really bad knees and may not be able to lunge, so I also use a motion like a golfer picking a ball out of the hole. Some people know this motion as a single leg deadlift. One leg firmly on the ground and as you bend your hips to bend over, you lift the other leg straight behind you. This allows you to keep your back flat.
I try to avoid twisting my spine as much as possible. If I need to pick something up from the corner of my desk, I move accordingly so I can get it instead of reaching. I have tried yoga in the past and some of the poses are okay, but some just scare me. Some people seem to think yoga is a one size fits all approach to fixing back problems, but I don’t agree with that.
Conclusion: Best posture for back pain
I have to work every day on my posture, but I also get a not so subtle and painful reminder if I don’t. I am better now than I have been in the past, but this is still something I work on daily.
I hope this article has been helpful for you. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.