Mom was right: Sitting up straight can have benefits for life

Jul 7 2011
Not all types of low back pain can be avoided, especially if they stem from an age-related condition such as degenerative disc disease or an injury. However, some cases of back pain may be prevented through proper posture.

In fact, healthcare practitioners stress that maintaining a proper posture throughout the day, whether at home, in the office or when traveling, can significantly reduce the risk of experiencing back discomfort that may require treatments with medications, injections or, in the most extreme cases, with spine surgery.

But what postures are the most effective? Many experts agree that office chairs with comfortable back support are important, and that workers should sit in a way that allows them to rest their feet flat on the floor. Moreover, the arms should be bent at 90 degree angle while resting on the desk, and the computer monitor should be at eye level to avoid straining the neck by pointing the chin up or down all day.

A recent article published in the Health section of The New York Times also provided some tips on avoiding back pain. Author Lesley Alderman wrote that individuals who sit or drive for long stretches of time may consider putting a pillow or rolled-up towel between their lower back and the seat in order to ensure spine support.

The news provider echoed the advice of many doctors who stress that physical fitness is key to preserving the health of one's spine. That is because strong core muscles and ligaments - which can be maintained by practicing yoga or pilates exercises - provide natural cushioning and support to spinal discs and vertebrae.

Healthcare statistics suggest that a staggering 80 percent of Americans experience back pain at some point during their lives.