Loading... Please wait...
  • My Account
  • Order Status
  • Wish Lists
  • Gift Certificates
  • View Cart

The Good Posture Blog

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Best Way To Sleep With Back Pain

Graphic of no pillow between kneesHave you ever dreaded going to bed because of neck or back pain? For some people this is an ongoing issue and it doesn’t always need to be. I have been teaching my patients with back pain how to sleep comfortably for over 30 years, and doctors for the past 10 years. 

The ideas that I am going to give you will work for virtually everyone so even if they sound like they aren’t for you just give them a try.

There is a lot of false information out there about the best way to sleep with back pain. in fact, I recently read an article in a women’s magazine purporting  to use a pillow between your knees. This is so wrong it hurts. 

The best way to sleep with lower back pain or neck pain is on your side. The first key is to have a firm mattress for back pain (without a pillow-top). Next is to use a pillow that’s high enough so that your whole spine and head are in a neutral position. When your body is in the right position like this your body relaxes, the pain eases, and you fall asleep easily.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How To Create Ergonomic Workstations – Step By Step

Testing for the right keyboard height
Workstation ergonomics are all about creating the least possible stress on your body by your chair and then your keyboard height respectively. Below are the steps on how to do this in the right order.

Most people set up their workstation by choosing their desk first and then their chair. They adjust their chair to fit their desk and have little concern about the computer keyboard height. This is all mixed up and without a strategy.

Our goal is to have minimal body stress and to be able to test each additional factor as you add it.  To do this you need the chair to be right first; only then can you set your keyboard to the right height.

Start with a good office chair. (Here is an article about what makes the best ergonomic chairs). You need to be able to sit upright comfortably. Basically, improper seat height causes forward or backward lean of your body. Test this (and every other step along the way) by sitting there breathing deeply and then allowing your body to slump as you let it out. If your breathing is restricted or your body does actually slump forward then adjust your chair height until these are as good as they can be.  These are actually signs that your body is under extra stress while sitting. 

Once your chair ergonomics are correct then you can work on ergonomic desk height and keyboard placement. Sit at your desk with your hands on your lap and do the  deep breath test. Then put your hands on the desk top and do the same thing. This is an indicator of ergonomics in action.
More testing for the keyboard height

Place a magazine on the desktop and place your hands on it. Test your breathing again. If it keeps getting better as you add magazines then go up until it starts to get worse and then go back to the last height where it was doing good. This is where the desktop should be for you. If you do a significant amount of keyboard work, then this is the height that the keyboard should be. If you need to raise the height of a desk then it can be done by placing appropriate height boards under the legs.

If your breathing never got better than when your hands were at the height of the desktop then your desk may be too high for you. Place a combination of books and magazines on your lap and test the same way. If your ideal desk height is lower than the desktop you would either need to lower the legs or get a lower desk.

Our Owner’s Manual For The Body has the above breathing test explained in it as well as all you need to know about improving your posture while sitting, standing, and sleeping.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

3 Ways To Ease Back Pain When Driving on Trips

If you are one of the many people who get back pain while driving then there are a few simple things you can do to ease your pain:

  1. Be sure your car seat is adjusted correctly. 
  2. Use a seat wedge in your car seat. 
  3. Get out as often as you need to and do this simple but effective exercise while leaning against your car. 
To adjust your car seat for the best posture bring your seat back into a comfortable and more upright position. Adjust the car seat so that the part under your knees is not pressing up into the back of your thighs. If this does push into your legs then it actually causes your back to slump and cause discomfort. Also, if you have an adjustable lumbar support in your car then back it out and don't use it! Contrary to popular thought, putting something in the small of your back while sitting actually causes stress points in different areas of your back and neck resulting in discomfort there.
Sit EZ Orthopedic Support Seat

As for seat wedges, I like the one I designed the best (no surprise there!) because it gives great support and fits well into most car seats. The right effect of a car wedge like this is to bring your hips just slightly above your knees. This positions your hips and your back (and even your neck) for the least possible stress while sitting.

The video above shows an exercise that I have taught to many patients. It can ease back stress when on the road. It also works well to wake you up because it pumps nutrients around your brain.

Happy traveling!

Jerry Porter, DC

PS - Please comment about your success using these strategies. They are new to many people and your views may help them make some good choices.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

8 Ways Posture Affects Your Health – And How To Better Your Posture

Window graphic showing symptoms arising from poor posture
Your posture is a measure of how well your body resists gravity while sitting, standing, or lying down. You can better your posture by understanding what affects it and by simply fixing a few things that make it worse.

According to the Cleveland Clinic look at these effects of bad posture:
  • Keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly.
  • Helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis.
  • Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
  • Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
  • Prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
  • Prevents strain or overuse problems.
  • Prevents backache and muscular pain.
  • Contributes to a good appearance.
These effects of bad posture are what made me a very busy chiropractor for over 30 years; less busy when patients followed my advice which I wrote up for them in “Owner's Manual For The Body”:
Shoe with a "rockered" toe
  1. To ease back pain symptoms there are a few simple posture support products that can help which are consistent with correcting back posture.
  2. To get good posture see a professional doing a posture corrective type of care. 
  3. In order to keep good posture learn what it means to stand, sit and sleep correctly and apply them.
As a to test this, just try standing and bending your toes like this shoe would do and feel what it does to your posture! After doing this do you think that wearing these shoes might affect your posture and therefore your health. This is an easy fix... don't wear shoes with toes that are up in the air.

There, your first lesson's over and it wasn't too painful but you did learn something that you can use to improve your health and your posture for the rest of your life - if you apply it.

Your comments are appreciated. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What’s Better Than Sitting In Bed To Read Or To Watch TV?

Everything. This is one of the worst things people can do to their body because it makes the body slump… 
Sitting up in bed

I've treated patients who couldn't get rid of their back pain until I uncovered this problem and had them stop doing it.

The thing about sitting up in bed is that your hips are lower than knees. I write about fixing chairs and car seats with seat cushions to raise your hips up all the time, but there isn't a good way to sit up in bed that doesn't harm your body.

Instead, lay on your side. This is the least stressful position for your body during sleep and it works well for reading also. Not so much for watching TV.

Please feel free to leave any comments or add to ongoing conversations.



Friday, April 19, 2013

Why You Should Go Shoe Shopping Now!

Over the years I have seen that trends change structurally as well as visually, in shoe design. So here's the good news… Shoes are looking pretty good this year!

This seasons shoes are good for posture
 I went shoe shopping with my wife last week. Now, generally this isn't one of the highlights of my life but the company is great and when Mama's good, I'm good. So, I went to help her pick out some shoes. I was amazed at the number of ones that I could posturally approve.

There were lots of "flats" this year (why do they call them that if they have some heel height?) that are "Porter approved". They are flat under the arch, have a firm insole, and many are raised up a bit in the heel. Most women won’t need much in the way of extra support but I usually recommend Heel Chips and an Orthotic Dot to make them just right.

Alas, we get to go shopping again soon as she didn't find any she liked.

Monday, January 28, 2013

3 Easy Steps to Remodel Your Chair for Your Back

Fixed occasional chair
Finished chair

My mother recently picked up a couple of new chairs. Since I want to have someplace I enjoy sitting when I visit her I needed to do some light chair remodeling.

Keep in mind that the best way to sit is with your hips slightly higher than your knees. Very seldom do I find any chair that puts me in this position and I have never found a casual chair that does - without changing it a bit.

These are the steps I took on my mother's chairs and they will work for most others:

 Step 1: use the seat cushion as a template to draw it's shape on a piece of plywood.

Step 2: cut the plywood about 1/2" inside the template drawing where the sides and back of the cushion are.  At the front of the cushion, I took several inches off of the plywood because this would have hit the front edge frame and made the front too high. 

Repairing a chair
Spacer used to lift the plywood in the back
Step 3: Place something of about the right height underneath the back of the plywood. Here I used a foam pad that's used for kneeling on when gardening. This has worked out to be a good height on several of the chairs I have done this to. 

Once you put the cushion back on you could never tell by looking at the chair that anything is different about it.  But what a difference it makes in your body. When you have the height just right then your back doesn't have any stress on it. You can sit there for a long time and then get up easily from the chair. You hardly notice you are sitting at all.

Click here to see how to fix car seats.