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Author Topic: Posture in sitting/standing ideas, tips & tricks  (Read 16521 times)
tomos
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« on: September 07, 2008, 08:56:05 AM »

I thought I'd start a thread related to ideas about how we should sit, stand, lift stuff even,
especially in relation to how we work and any problems we might have due possibly to poor posture.



I know this has been touched on in various topics so feel free to link to or quote stuff from other threads
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Tom
tomos
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2008, 09:04:06 AM »

How you hold your shoulders directly affects your wrists.  The book that's helped me the most in this area is "8 Steps to a Pain Free Back," which is $16 on Amazon.  (http://www.amazon.com/Ste...qid=1219617750&sr=1-1)  My back, shoulder, and wrist pain has been reduced drastically using the methods in this book... $16 very well spent.  For those of you who like getting something for nothing, here is a youtube video of a seminar Esther (the author) gave at Google (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yYJ4hEYudE).

that video is very interesting and impressive - I would recommend it to everybody  thumbs up

it is very long - worthwhile seeing it all, but,
if you just want to see how to sit look at the 7th to 14th minute
standing technique is roughly from the 20th to the 26th minute
She also talks about lifting around mins 27 to 30

Apparently, according to her website, the fashion world during the 1920's started the trend of "tucking the pelvis" which she says is where we started going wrong ...

Her blog looks good as well
http://www.8stepstoapainfreeback.com/
she talks about how to sit here
# Use a chair with a low, straight backrest that doesn’t lean back.
Sit down with your butt well back in the chair. Place your feet about hip-width apart and relax your legs.
# Bend at the waist and curve your ribcage forward slightly to lengthen your back. Leave your butt in your chair.
... etc ...

btw, images here and in first post are from her blog
« Last Edit: September 07, 2008, 12:45:46 PM by tomos » Logged

Tom
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2008, 09:48:22 AM »

http://www.telegraph.co.u.../06/08/st_goodposture.xml
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2008, 11:40:59 AM »

I thought I'd start a thread related to ideas about how we should sit, stand, lift stuff even

Thanks, every time I see something on DC that relates to this area I am reminded to make an effort.

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Chris
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2008, 12:47:28 PM »

Nice topic tomos!  Sorry if I sound like a marketer for that book, but it's only because I tried "just sitting/standing up straight" for about two years without getting any closer to better posture.  After reading (and re-reading) this book and another book ("The New Rules of Posture" by Mary Bond) I actually do have better posture and much less pain (all over my body).

And, for the price, these two books are well worth it... how much do people spend on a "better" chair, fancy mouse (me!), ergonomic this, theraupeutic that.  Start with posture: it's cheap and, if you have improper posture, all those gadgets won't do much for you.  Once you have better posture they may help.

Kevin
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tomos
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2008, 02:29:04 PM »

hi Kevin
I'm presuming Esther Gokhale and Mary Bond dont differ too much in their ideas ?

For the record, in the YouTube film,
Esther Gokhale says her ideas dont differ too much from Alexander technique (see Sri's link above), but that they concentrate on the neck/shoulder area and dont comment too much on the hip area. But that is where she reckons is of most importance in psoture

... I am reminded to make an effort.
... what I'm trying to figure out is how to make the effort smiley
« Last Edit: September 07, 2008, 04:49:48 PM by tomos » Logged

Tom
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2008, 04:59:40 PM »

The two books have similar thoughts and the same end result... different styles.  Mary Bond's is a little more "yoga-ish" (she is a "movement therapist") and more technical (she goes into the different muscles and how they relate to each other).  Esther's is more hands on and a little more practical.  Part of the reason I liked Esther's just a little bit more is I tend to be more rational/logical and I really like all the pictures... but I learned a lot from both books and recommend them both.  If you just want to get one, I'd get Esther's though.

I agree with Esther (not that that matters a whole hill-o-beans).  Shoulders hurt, but the hips set the rest of your posture.  If you're standing, your feet are also big components. 

You can look up 8 Steps for a Pain Free Back at books.google.com.  They have a limited preview.  Also, at one time I found chapter 5 for download as a pdf.  If you want to take a quick look-see.

In case you cared, looking up material on "rolfing" is what led me to Mary Bond's book... then I found Esther's about three weeks later.


Kevin
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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2008, 07:02:31 PM »

In case you cared, looking up material on "rolfing" is what led me to Mary Bond's book... then I found Esther's about three weeks later.

Has anyone reading this thread been rolfed?

I was rolfed about 10 years ago, and can still feel its effects. Not only was it a tremendous help for pain, but my posture was changed for the better, with really no effort on my part...and those were the minor changes  smiley .



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-Sarah
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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2008, 05:31:55 AM »

In case you cared, looking up material on "rolfing" is what led me to Mary Bond's book... then I found Esther's about three weeks later.

Has anyone reading this thread been rolfed?

I was rolfed about 10 years ago, and can still feel its effects. Not only was it a tremendous help for pain, but my posture was changed for the better, with really no effort on my part...and those were the minor changes  smiley .


Nope, but I often wanted to try. Maybe I will...  smiley
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« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2008, 05:47:19 AM »

For those who tried these, doesn't it make your neck hurt instead? From the pictures it looks like it can be a pain while typing in front of a keyboard with the lack of neck rest and lack of arm handles.
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« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2008, 06:01:48 AM »

Nope.  Not if you do it right.  At first it does hurt a little as you stretch out your body and get things back into place (plus, you probably will be exercising muscles in "new" ways).  But, the premise (and one which I have felt) is that getting your body into position allows you to use your body as it was meant to be used.  Dont think of your body as something that needs to be coddled.  It was meant for movement, standing, sitting, etc.  The problem is that in our society we have gotten lazy and do those things inefficiently... yes, even sitting in a big "comfy" armchair can be inefficient.  Right now I feel the best sitting in a normal slightly padded folding chair. 

Besides, one of the points brought up in both of the books I mentioned is that our muscles and bones actually need a certain amount of stress to be strong.  Sitting/standing with proper posture actually makes us use our bodies as intended and these natural stresses help make us stronger. 

For me, one of the things that drives the point home are all the pictures of babies and small children in "8 Steps to a Pain Free Back."  It becomes very apparent that the posture we start with is not the posture our culture does not promote....

... posture begins with the person, not neck rests and arm handles.

Kevin
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tomos
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« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2008, 06:08:51 AM »

For those who tried these, doesn't it make your neck hurt instead? From the pictures it looks like it can be a pain while typing in front of a keyboard with the lack of neck rest and lack of arm handles.

Two points
(keep in mind I'm no typist and have to work with the mouse a lot)

1) You're not supposed to sit leaning very far back so the neck thing shouldnt be a problem
2) I think armrests engourage pad posture (leaning) & just get in the way generally

here's an interesting one
Ideal typing posture: Negative slope keyboard support



EDIT/ mind you he looks to me like he could tilt his head forward a bit !
And presumable the height of desk should be related to the length of your legs & height of stool (?)

EDIT2/ I superimposed the correct posture Ă  la Esther Gokhale (8 Steps ../taken from reply #1 above) onto the typing image

« Last Edit: September 09, 2008, 03:53:51 PM by tomos » Logged

Tom
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« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2008, 07:13:50 AM »

Keep those images from Esther's book in mind... the image in Tomos' post shows poor posture.  Keep your spine in front of your butt.  The neck is reclined too far back as well.  Shoulders are also too far forward. 

One of my biggest problems is leaning on one arm (I concur with Tomos' comments on armrests, particularly for work chairs).  As soon as you lean you skew your whole body.  Muscles start to adjust to the reformed posture and things go downhill fast.

Kevin
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2008, 07:38:16 AM »

Thanks for all the advise. I think I'll go buy the book out and see for myself.
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tomos
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« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2008, 03:52:58 PM »

the image in Tomos' post shows poor posture.  Keep your spine in front of your butt.  The neck is reclined too far back as well.  Shoulders are also too far forward.

EDIT2/ I superimposed the correct posture Ă  la Esther Gokhale (8 Steps ...) onto the typing image

see above - just gives you a very rough idea
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Tom
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« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2008, 08:58:30 PM »

Very interesting edit tomos... if anyone has the book, look at chapter three, stacksitting.  There are some examples there that match more of what I was talking about (I readily admit the image tomos created shows those two postures shown in this thread are more similar than my comment!).   If you go to books.google.com and search for the book, go to pages 70 and 71.

The image tomos overlaid is from the first chapter, which talks about stretching out your lower back while you sit.

Kevin
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« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2008, 03:27:47 PM »

A review of Esther's Book:
http://www.aaos.org/news/...osnow/jul08/managing3.asp

Kevin
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digitalzen
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« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2008, 08:12:56 PM »

One of the most important things in posture is good tone in the stomach muscles.  Most people have overdeveloped back muscles, which shortens the muscle and causes reverse curvature that puts stress on the vertebrae.  Toning up the gut creates a gentle, constant counteraction, and the knee lifts or crunches help stretch the back muscles.  Back stretches complete the process.

Remember in all stomach exercises to keep your hips firmly on the ground and your knees bent at a 45-degree angle, otherwise the downward pull on the spine can damage discs.
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kfitting
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« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2008, 09:48:52 PM »

The guy who writes this blog just bought Esther's book and is writing some posts on his thoughts:
http://www.mattmetzgar.com/matt_metzgar/

And, linked on his blog is this ~hour long podcast with Esther:
http://www.coreawareness....om/podcasts/painfreeback/

Kevin
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M. Dahlen
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« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2008, 02:37:20 PM »

The person who started this thread said it should be about "any of the problems we might have that are assocated with poor posture."  Wow.  Seems to me the list is endless.  I suspect osteoporosis, ADD, carpal tunnel, maybe even planters warts and the general fatigue syndrome relate to posture.  If you stand such that your spinal vertebrae stack in alignment then gravity holds you up  (making every movement a weight-bearing exercise), releasing the muscles (saving energy), increasing circulation, and just making a person more comfortable.  The scary thing is that nobody is writing about this in any of the so-called "health" magazines, and nobody is doing research.  I suspect that's because there's no money in fixing posture:  no drugs, no gadgets to sell.  But it doesn't even take much work:  in my experience, after doing Esther Gokhale's course and reading her book, I would do the exercises just a little and get big benefits.  It's like my body was just waiting to "do the right thing".  Comments?
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Yahya
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« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2008, 08:23:50 AM »

M. Dahlen wrote:
'The person who started this thread said it should be about "any of the problems we might have that are assocated with poor posture."  Wow.  Seems to me the list is endless.  I suspect osteoporosis, ADD, carpal tunnel, maybe even planters warts'

 ... that'd be 'plantar warts' - on the soles of the feet, I think.  Wink


' and the general fatigue syndrome relate to posture.'

 ... do you mean 'Chronic Fatigue Syndrome' (CFS)?  I've had it for six years now (which is why it's taken me so long to catch up with your post), so I can tell you confidently that while poor posture does not cause CFS, good posture can help noticeably in relieving the symptoms, in particular both the fatigue and the frequently associated Fibromyalgia (FM) - unpredictable, severe pain in muscles and connective tissues (eg ligaments & tendons), occurring anywhere throughout the body.


'If you stand such that your spinal vertebrae stack in alignment then gravity holds you up  (making every movement a weight-bearing exercise), releasing the muscles (saving energy), increasing circulation, and just making a person more comfortable.'

Spot on!  cheesy


'The scary thing is that nobody is writing about this in any of the so-called "health" magazines, and nobody is doing research.'

I've seen some cautious posture advice on the "Men's Health" website, and also in their printed magazine; but nothing to make readers really sit up (!) and take notice as they need to.  Of course, most of their readers are (at least in their wishes) more dedicated to getting and keeping fit than the average person who uses the PC for more than an hour a day.  If they do go to the gym, one can hope they at least get basic instruction from the trainers in proper (weight-lifting and weight machine) techniques, and that will help with their posture.  On the flipside, it only takes five minutes of slouching to do a lot of bad, which undermines any good done elsewhere.
 

'I suspect that's because there's no money in fixing posture:  no drugs, no gadgets to sell.  But it doesn't even take much work:  in my experience, after doing Esther Gokhale's course and reading her book, I would do the exercises just a little and get big benefits.  It's like my body was just waiting to "do the right thing".  Comments?

No, it doesn't, does it?  smiley  I've not seen Gokhale's materials, but I have benefitted greatly from a book I picked up about three years back (on the discount table!) at Dymock's Bookstore - "The Vance Stance",  by Vance Bonner (Workman Publishing, NY, 1993) ISBN 156305-311-X.  It's illustrated profusely and well, and the explanations on why you should take the trouble to learn to stand correctly are simple, clear and sensible.  From the minute I started to learn her techniques, I have gained considerable relief.  Those techniques have also helped reduce the pain I have from an old sporting injury, which effectively destroyed the cartilage on the inside of my left knee.  If I have to stand for more than 30 seconds, I take care to "assume the position"!

From the jacket blurb: "Teaching Balanced Alignment, a way of positioning yourself in space that enables you to move with more grace and power, Vance Bonner shows you how to work with gravity instead of against it to reshape your body and reverse the constricting postural habits of a lifetime.  The Vance Stance and its program of Thirty-Four Movements will eliminate, step by step, (*) the causes of chronic joint and muscle pain while greatly increasing your body's flexibility.  With knees unlocked, ankles unfrozen and spine fully lengthened, you will experience a dramatic new sense of limberness, energy and overall well-being."

With one small change, I fully endorse those statements.  That change would be to insert the phrase "some of" before the words "the causes" at the point I marked (*) above.  As I've said, I don't believe the Vance Stance, or Balanced Alignment, or any similar techniques, including Alexander Technique, can eliminate the causes of the FM pain experienced by many CFS sufferers.  To the best of my knowledge, those causes lie in dysfunctions of the hindbrain.  Yet I have found her work extremely useful in reducing the severity of those FM pains.

I can't comment on "rolfing".  I thought it had to do with walking around in a trench coat on three legs, wobbling a board of masonite and singing "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" ...  Wink but apparently it has nothing to do with Rolf Harris.  Considering the comments about rolfing made earlier in this thread, perhaps I should investigate further.

The other thing I've found helps with the knee cartilage problem is to take glucosamine and chondroitin twice daily.  It seems to help actually rebuild the cartilage a little, which is all it takes to stop the 'bone on bone' grinding I otherwise have, and thus most of the pain there.

Well, this reply has taken me two sessions to put together, one at 3pm yesterday, and the other just now, at 1am.  That's what CFS will do for you ...  Cry ... so I could really do with any good ideas!  tellme

Yahya
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tomos
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« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2008, 04:08:47 PM »

Hi Yahya,
thanks for your post!
I'm afraid I dont have any definite ideas for you - I would be curious how the Gokhale ideas compares to the Vance ones.
Below some more comments re the Gokhale way of things

If you stand such that your spinal vertebrae stack in alignment then gravity holds you up  (making every movement a weight-bearing exercise), releasing the muscles (saving energy), increasing circulation, and just making a person more comfortable.
Remember in all stomach exercises to keep your hips firmly on the ground and your knees bent at a 45-degree angle, otherwise the downward pull on the spine can damage discs.

a point here - Gokhale's method involves aligning the vertebrae and head correctly so that you are balanced. But it also involves using muscles that run across the top of the abdomen, just below the rib cage - they actually go around to your back. (sorry dont know the name of them - see video link above, they're mentioned there, obviously in her book too).
When these muscles are used it contains the torso, almost like a corset (I think she calls it them the "inner corset").

This has the effect of lengthening the spine, thus protecting the vertebrae and whatever's in between them (I'm very scientific..but you get my meaning!). When you breath in, the back gets stretched upwards even more as the torso is "contained".
These muscles would traditionally (in most less "developed" cultures, and in some western ones too) more or less constantly be in use, protecting as long as you are walking, standing, sitting up straight, lifting. [edit/ - jogging as well - basically all the time except when resting]

That and the angle of the hip are crucial to her "method".

Another thing she says is the back is traditionally kept straight at almost all times. When bending you can bend at the knees but more often people would "hinge" at the hip, keeping the back straight. Dont try this unless you've learned how to use the "inner corset" muscles mentioned above. Even then, it takes time to learn and to strengthen the back muscles.

The back muscles (along the spine I presume) actually contract when the back is kept straight. I'm already finding that this makes it uncomfortable to slump (after a month or two of practicing this method) which makes it so much easier to learn the new posture!

This would make me wary of doing any exercises that involve stretching the back muscles but I've always been a lazy beggar exercise-wise so no problem here Wink

I'm trying this (the "hinging") a bit - I like cooking, your average kitchen seems to be designed for someone about 6 inches smaller than me so find myself stooping a lot - good opportunity; also brushing teeth is another - it really stretches those hamstrings if you can bend over while keeping your legs straight - not necessary - but the knees can need a break too!
« Last Edit: November 29, 2008, 07:00:06 AM by tomos » Logged

Tom
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« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2008, 06:06:05 PM »

Great thread, thanks for starting it, Tom  Thmbsup Also, thanks to Yahya  for bumping it - I completely missed it when it was more active last month and wouldn't have thought to go looking for it, either  smiley

My posture sucks and this is the kind of common sense information I need. As soon as this is posted, I'm replacing my fancy leather office chair (with armrests) with a spare dining room chair and then I'm off to track down one or the other of the books that have been mooted in this thread!
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tomos
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« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2009, 07:58:50 AM »

Here's a recent Lifehacker post Top 10 Ergonomic Upgrades for Your Workspace
and
they have this video embedded
Video podcast - exercises for tendonitis and carpal tunnel which they better describe as ["b]Use exercises to ward off RSI[/b]" - they're very good exercises if you spend a lot of time at the keyboard and/or using the mouse -
it feels really good to sttretch those tendons Wink

(I'm still a huge fan of the Gokhale 'method' btw - things just get better & better learning posture via her method - this from someone who usually gives up 'that kind of thing' after a week or two)
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« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2009, 08:20:24 AM »

Combine these two links, then look up stuff on Tai Chi...

Everything you learned about muscles is wrong

Anatomy Trains

You're going to have to click around the Anatomy Trains website.  Basically this is another model of the human body.  I've found it makes better posture easier.

Kevin
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