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Getting the position right: Tips for relieving back pain

Getting the position right: Tips for relieving back pain

What is the best position for sleeping?

The proper position is sleeping on your side with your knees slightly bent. A cushion can be placed between your knees to take the pressure off your lower back and prevent it from twisting.

Place a pillow under your neck but ensure that the pillow isn't too high or too low. Your head and the rest of your spine should form one straight line. You may also lie on your back with a pillow under your knees.

Lying in the fetal position with your head tucked in and knees up reverses your lower back and neck curves and increases spinal stress. Never lie on your stomach. This is the worst position as it puts undue stress on your neck, mid back and hips. 

Computer posture tips:

We have a big problem these days because we sit more more every day. Because we can't get everyone sitting in front of computers new jobs, we need to get you as comfortable as possible in front of the computer. Sitting for hours every day can lead to problems such as eye strain, wrist strain, neck ache and backache.

Here are a few tips to try and avoid such problems occurring: 

Make sure you have a proper chair. Your legs must be under the table flat on the ground. Your legs must be relaxed. If your chair is too high place a block underneath your feet so your legs are relaxed. Don't slouch.

Push your chair far enough forward so your tummy is in contact with the desk and your back in contact with the chair. Ensure your back has good support. This can be achieved by a lumbar support cushion or a towel rolled up in the small of your back. Do not lean forward.

When you sit up straight and stretch your arm out in front of you, the screen should be where the tip of your middle finger is. The distance will be 40-70cm away from your eyes. The top of the screen should be eyebrow level. 

Documents being typed should be placed on a clipboard or recipe stand just behind the keyboard so you don't have to turn your neck when typing.  Move the keyboard slightly so that the mouse is in front of your shoulder. 

Your forearms must be relaxed on the desk. If the desk is too narrow to allow the keyboard to be moved back, use the armrests and apply the 90 degree principle.  Take regular breaks, every 20 minutes. Drink a lot of water.

Warning signs of an unhealthy spine:

  • You suffer from continues spinal pain that includes backache, neck-ache and headaches
  • You have constant tension in your muscles and joints
  • You have constant stressful feelings
  • You have stiffness throughout your spine
  • You can't twist or turn your head or hips to either side
  • You can't twist or turn your head equally or easily
  • You have poor posture when standing upright, your chin sticks out or one shoulder is much higher than the other
  • Your heels wear out unevenly
  • Your foot or feet flare out when walking as opposed to facing forward
  • Sitting for a long time is uncomfortable and sometimes painful
  • Standing for a long time is uncomfortable and sometimes painful
  • Walking for long is uncomfortable and sometimes painful
  • You struggle to stand upright and bending forward for any length of time


If you suffer from any of the signs mentioned above and would like to book an appointment call and ask for Dr Conradie on 041 581 3990 or you can follow me on Facebook: Dr Ernsl Conradie Chiropractor or email me directly at [email protected]. Our practice is situated at 108 Main Road in Walmer, Port Elizabeth.