The Joint Ventures' Blog

Sit up straight!

Friday, September 04, 2015

Sit up straight! Stand up straight! Or so we've all been told.

Truthfully, it’s less about your spine being straight and more about balance.  We have 3 natural curves in our spine, which we should maintain these curves during daily activities.  When you lose this balance, the length and tension relationships within the spine are off, increasing your risk of injury.  If your head is too far forward, or you’re sitting in a slouched position, some of your muscle are in a shortened position, getting tight, while others are in a lengthened position, getting stretched.   These muscles become much more vulnerable to an acute or repetitive stress injury because they are too tight or too weak to handle the forces that are applied to them.

So what is proper posture and how do we maintain this balance?  

Here are some guidelines:

Standing posture:

  • Stand with your weight mostly on the balls of your feet, with feet shoulder width apart.  If you are standing for a long time, shift weight from side to side or rock from heels to toes.

  • Tuck your chin in to keep your head level.  Keep your head over your spine, not pushed forward

  • Keep your arms aligned with rest of your body, but let them hang naturally at your side

Sitting posture:

  • Align your back with the back of the chair, and avoid slouching and leaning forward.

  • Eyes should be aligned with the task bar and monitor should be an arm’s length away

  • Shoulders should be relaxed with arms and elbows at side.  Elbow should be bent to about 90 degrees

  • Knees should be even with the hips and feet should be flat on the floor.

Lifting and carrying:

  • Bend at your knees and hinge at your hips.

  • Tighten your stomach and use your large leg muscles, not your back, for lifting.

  • Keep the object close to you.

  • When carrying a bag or purse, keep it as light as possible, and alternate sides.

Image result for good lifting technique

Sleeping position:

  • Sleeping on your side or back is better for your neck and back.

  • Using a smaller or thinner pillow while sleeping on your back the provides enough support to keep your head in line with your shoulders.

  • When sleeping on your side, use a larger pillow or fold your pillow in half to keep your head aligned with your spine.  You can also place a pillow between your knees to help maintain your spinal alignment.

If you have questions about the importance of proper posture, please stop by the Kendall Square office or contact me at

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