If you experience back pain due to the bad posture habits you developed last year, please do the following.
Move over, “Isolate 15.” The word was coined for weight gain during the pandemic, and is not the only fascinating phrase in this challenging era. Now there is an “epidemic posture”, which refers to the bad posture caused by sitting lazily at a desk or sofa at home-it brings a lot of complaints of back pain.
We asked Dr. David Binder, a physiotherapist and innovation director at Harvard Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, about this phenomenon and what to do if you encounter it.
Question: Is the “pandemic posture” true?
Dr. Binder: Yes, last year we saw an increase in complaints of neck and waist pain, usually when sitting for long periods of time and working at home increased.
Many people do not have the same facilities or workstations they have in an office environment, which results in poor posture.
Or they may spend too much time on a comfortable chair or sofa.
Q: Why does bad posture cause back pain?
Dr. Binder: Maintaining any posture for a long time, whether standing or sitting, sometimes increases discomfort due to muscle cramps or muscle fatigue.
Poor posture may also put more pressure on certain joints, or produce imbalance on one side of the body, and bear more load than the other side.
In addition, poor posture can cause nerve irritation at pressure points such as the hips or tailbone, which can be painful.
Q: What advice do you have for people who want to relieve back pain caused by bad posture?
Dr. Binder: It is helpful to have a comprehensive exercise every day, including warm-up, aerobic exercise, relaxation and general muscle stretching. This will keep your muscles strong and flexible.
Sometimes it is useful to work with a physical therapist. The therapist can help you understand the mechanisms of how to sit upright, arch your back, and shoulder back and down. The therapist can also train you to strengthen and stretch the muscles that help you sit upright. These include your abdomen, back, shoulders, neck and chest muscles.
(Note: If you have a health problem, please consult your doctor before starting a physical exercise program.)
Action of the month: child’s posture
Put your hands around your knees. Lay your hands flat on the floor in front of you, exhale, then lower your hips back until they fall on your heels and feet. Place your forehead on the floor and extend your arms in front of you, with your hands still flat on the floor. Hold, and then breathe in when you come back.
Thomas McDonald’s practice photos
Q: Does improving the home workstation also help?
Dr. Binder: Absolutely. Use a chair with plenty of cushions and support for the lower back. Sometimes using a footrest can make you feel more comfortable and reduce the burden on your back. A footrest is especially useful for people who are shorter, so that they can keep their knees at the best angle-about 90°.
Other workstation tricks are to raise your computer monitor to eye level so that you don’t have to look down at your neck to apply pressure, and use an ergonomic mouse and wrist pad to reduce pressure discomfort on your wrists, arms, and shoulders—— This can cause pain in the shoulders, scapula, or neck. But please note that if you use a standing desk, it allows you to stand while working. Standing for long periods of time can aggravate back pain.
Q: What else can help?
Dr. Binder: Set a timer to get you up from your desk (or sofa or chair) and walk around every 20 minutes. This will prevent you from being in one position for a long time. Getting up can also rest your spine from the stress of sitting down and prevent your muscles from becoming too tight. Of course, staying active throughout the day is also important for many other aspects of health. Sedentary sitting is associated with chronic diseases and even premature death.
Image: © Charday Penn/Getty Images
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