Hitting the back button
It’s the straight back way or the highway of pain, says Tech Sunday.
“Sit up straight.” Ah, that takes us back in time. We would be poring over the latest Famous Five book or our Panini sticker duplicates and our mum would give us a smack in the head (we didn’t call it corporal punishment back then – it was a form of encouragement) and shriek like a banshee (who was once a character in a Famous Five title) to sit up straight.
Back then we never understood the benefits of sitting up straight. Why should we? It was more comfortable to bend our backs to the task at hand. And by slouching, we could see more clearly anyway.
Fast forward to middle age, and we certainly understand the benefits – the pain in the back is a constant reminder. But we still don’t sit up straight – at work, we spend eight hours (and more) slouching over our computer. And back home, we resume our bad posture while we fiddle with our tablet and mobile.
This explains why in the US alone, up to 80 per cent of Americans experience back pain at some point in their lives – each year, 15 per cent of all American adults are treated for such problems as herniated discs, spinal stenosis and lumbar pain. And in the UK, an NHS study shows how every year, 22 million people – that’s just under half of all UK adults – suffer back pain.
Of course, some back pain is unavoidable – with age, spinal vertebrae degenerate, causing stress and discomfort. And yet, by maintaining good posture, we can limit the onset of back pain – when at your desk, the top of your computer screen should be slightly below eye level while the desk height should allow your forearms to rest comfortably at a 90-degree angle. Moreover, don’t sit at your desk all day – get up and stretch every 30 minutes or so.
Good posture also helps you look better and makes breathing easier. Moreover, according to recent studies, sitting up straight improves your performance and gives you more self-confidence.