Health Encyclopedia

Posture Pointers for Preventing Pain

Good posture can help your body function at its best. It promotes movement, efficiency and endurance, and it contributes to an overall sense of well-being. It can also help prevent chronic aches and pains that can require medical attention. 

The following suggestions will help you avoid posture-related aches and pains.

Sitting right

At your desk, keep your feet flat on the floor with your hips bent slightly forward. Sit with your back firmly against the chair and keep your trunk upright so the lower body supports it. 

Position your computer monitor so you don't have to look up or strain your neck to see it. Keep your head straight, not tilted or turned to one side. If you use the telephone for long periods of time, use a headset to cut down on the stress to your neck muscles.

Walking the walk

The standard gait is a heel strike, then toe push-off. Any other movement can put a strain on your body over time.

To walk correctly, keep your head erect with your chin parallel to the ground. Allow your arms to swing naturally and point your feet in front of you. Also, balance the weight equally when you walk while carrying heavy objects. Pack two small suitcases instead of one large one, and carry your groceries in two bags instead of one.

Wearing very high heels, platform shoes, and loose shoes can cause back pain, gait changes, and painful foot conditions. To avoid these problems, wear supportive walking shoes when walking for fitness or to and from work.

Reserve higher-heeled shoes for meetings in which walking or standing isn't involved, or don't wear them at all. Also, buy shoes with padded, arch-supportive soles that feel comfortable as soon as you try them on.

Standing tall

To maintain good posture while standing for long periods, keep your hands at your sides and your abdomen drawn in as if you're trying to flatten your stomach. Avoid tilting your pelvis, allowing your belly to fall forward.

Sleeping comfortably

To ensure healthful posture while you sleep, rest on your side and put your head on a thin pillow that doesn't tilt your head upward.

Bending your knees slightly will reduce the strain on your lower back. Your arms should be at your sides; bringing them up by your head can compress nerves and arteries.

Good posture is a key to mobility and long-term health. Using these simple posture pointers can make a major difference in the way you walk, look, and feel!  



Medical Reviewers:

  • Gomez, Wanda, RN, Ph.D.
  • newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician