Your spine has natural curves that form an S-shape. Viewed from the side, the cervical and lumbar spines have a lordotic, or a slight inward curve, and the thoracic spine has a kyphotic, or gentle outward curve. The spine’s curves work like a coiled spring to absorb shock, maintain balance, and to facilitate the full range of motion throughout the spinal column
These curves are maintained by two muscle groups, flexors and extensors. The flexor muscles are in the front and include the abdominal muscles. These muscles enable us to flex, or bend forward, and are important in lifting and controlling the arch in the lower back.
The correct way to stand
- Hold your head up straight with your chin in. Do not tilt your head forward, backward or sideways.
- Make sure your earlobes are in line with the middle of your shoulders.
- Keep your shoulder blades back.
- Keep your knees straight.
- Stretch the top of your head toward the ceiling.
- Tuck your stomach in. Do not tilt your pelvis forward or backward.
- The arches in your feet should be supported.
The correct way to sit
- 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. Here’s how to find a good sitting position when you’re not using a back support or lumbar roll: Sit at the end of your chair and slouch completely. 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.
- Distribute your body weight evenly on both hips.
- Bend your knees at a right angle. Keep your knees even with or slightly higher than your hips. (use a foot rest or stool if necessary). Your legs should not be crossed.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor.
- Try to avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 minutes.
- At work, adjust your chair height and work station so you can sit up close to your work and tilt it up at you. Rest your elbows and arms on your chair or desk, keeping your shoulders relaxed.
- When sitting in a chair that rolls and pivots, don’t twist at the waist while sitting. Instead, turn your whole body.
- When standing up from the sitting position, move to the front of the seat of your chair. Stand up by straightening your legs. Avoid bending forward at your waist. Immediately stretch your back by doing 10 standing backbends. You can assume other sitting positions for short periods of time, but most of your sitting time should be spent as described above so there is minimal stress on your spine.