In teaching people about deportment, poise and health care, I had noticed that a lot of people shared that they suffered from backaches. So I started to observe my own posture and habits to see what were the causes as I, too, would have this problem once in a while.
One of my bad habits at work and at home was when I used the telephone. I had the habit of cradling the telephone receiver between my neck and shoulder as I could then do my paper work and talk at the same time. As time went on, I found that even after a short 5 minute conversation, my neck would ache. As time went on, it started to cause strain on my back and I would have to straighten up my back to get some relief. Nowadays, I hold the hand piece or use a headphone / earphones with the mouthpiece attached.
There were times when I was so engrossed in my work that I would sit in a certain position for a very long time. Minutes and then hours would pass without my awareness until one of my children came in or the telephone rang. When I moved from that posture, I felt all stiff in both my neck and back. The solution is to remember to get up, walk around or change positions every now and again. Ensure your chair is not too high or too low, so that your legs are kept at a right angle to your thighs. If the back rest is too curved or too far back, and your back may not have good support either. Thus, select a chair with good support if you are using it over long hours.
As far as I can remember, I have always preferred to wear high heels. As a trainer, I tend to wear heels for 3 – 4 hour stretches in a day. I feel it also makes my legs look better, so I tend to wear heels wherever I go. But this has definitely added to my back strain. I did try wearing flat shoes, but that gave me aches in my calves and legs! So I have learnt to wear slightly chunkier or broader heels for balance and support and as time passed, my heels have gotten less high. I do try to rotate by wearing heels of different heights and widths too, depending on the occasion. Most importantly now is I buy shoes of the right fit and which are comfortable with slight cushioning.
As I do not do grocery shopping often, I do find myself having to carry quite a load back. And when I go for workshops bringing with me all my training materials and laptop, my bag can also get rather heavy. Now, either I carry shoulder bags with my groceries and balance the weight on both shoulders or I bring a trolley bag. But even then, I still need to shift, pull or carry the weight from one side to the other to relieve the strain on one side.
Here is a Relaxation Exercise that helps me:
– Stand tall, tense up your shoulders all the way till the count of 10, then relax.
– Stretch your neck by raising it as high as possible till the count of 10, then drop your head as if it is very heavy. Slowly lift up your head while you inhale gradually then breathe out with a sigh.
– Breathe deeply and pull in your stomach as if to make it touch your spine, hold for a count of 10, then release your breadth.
– Straighten your legs and stretch your toes all the way, hold for a count of 10, then return to normal.