Good posture is important for good health. Good posture means that your bones are properly aligned and the joints and muscles work as nature intended. It also helps with correct positioning of vital organs. When these organs are properly positioned, they perform to peak efficiency. At the end of the day we can talk of a naturally functioning nervous system. In the absence of good posture, your balance and efficiency is compromised. In the short term you’re likely to experience fatigue as your vertebral code struggles to carry the extra weight. In the medium and long term you may suffer from neck pain, back pain, repetitive motion injury, torn muscles and muscular tension, cracks in the vertebrae, and internal organ problems such as lung failures.
Sitting in traffic is now one of the major causes of posture related back problems
We have seen an increase in the number of cars on our roads in the recent past as the society becomes more financially empowered. While this is great news, it also means that traffic on the major roads and highways has become worse. Alongside sitting at sedentary desks for a large part of the day, sitting in traffic has now become one of the major causes of back pain. This problem can in part be blamed on cars with poorly positioned seats. Of course it becomes almost impossible to sit with good posture if the car seat is already poorly positioned.
Improving posture when in traffic
Nonetheless you can still improve your posture when in traffic. Sitting posture mostly affects the spinal backbone. The backbone or spine is made of special vertebrae or bones stacked together, one on top of the other. This spine has 3 natural curves in the upper, middle, and lower parts of back. The curve at the neck bends forward or inwards, the curve in the upper back curves either outwards or backwards, and the lumbar curve found on the lower back curves only inwards. Any alternation to these curving positions may strain the backbone causing back pain. When in traffic, follow the following tips to improve your sitting posture;
- Ensure that both feet are resting on something – this helps to distribute body weight which improves balance.
- Try to keep your hip and knee joints at right angles – this will leave your knees just a little lower or at the same level with the hips. When the knees are raised above the level of the hips it forces the back into a curved position which isn’t advisable.
- Push your hips and buttocks until they rest on the back of the chair – this ensures that you’re neither sliding nor slouching helping to maintain the natural curves of the back.
- Sit tall and upright – you’ll need to kind of elongate your spine with the back and neck fairly straightened and the shoulders back, down or relaxed.
- Evenly distribute the body weight on both hips – you can tell if you’re sitting with the weight evenly balanced on both butts.
- Rest the elbows parallel to the ground – make use of the armrests and ensure that the arm not on the steering wheel forms an L-shape at the elbow.
Basically you need to feel relaxed in the sitting position. Sit at 90 degrees for a short time and if the traffic persists adjust the seat so you’re sitting at between 100 degrees and 120 degrees.
SportsMed Physical Therapy has four (4) treatment centers conveniently situated in northern New Jersey.
• Fair Lawn - 14-26 Plaza Road, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410; Phone – 201-797-7373
• Clifton - 1233 Main Ave, Clifton, NJ 07011; Phone – 973-928-1144
• Ho-Ho-Kus - 197 East Franklin Turnpike, Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ 07423; Phone – 201-447-0346
• Franklin Lakes - 784 Franklin Ave. Suite 230, Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417; Phone – 201-891-0090