Curve reversal is quite literally the reversal of the curve in your spine from one direction to another (ie: forward to backward) which often presents as a back twinge or in more serious cases, muscular spasms and severe pain. For instance, if you slouch on a particularly soft lounge, your back assumes a rounded position – flexion. However, if you stand upright, your back reverts to its normal hollow – also known as ‘extension’. Curve Reversal pain occurs when you move from slouching (flexion) to standing (extension) and may be an indication that the spinal segment comprising of the vertebrae above and below (plus the disc between this level) has been compromised.
By maintaining healthy posture with a support system that mimics the correct spinal curvature, standing up after lengthy periods of sitting becomes virtually pain free! Using a Comfyback holds the natural curve in sitting so you don’t ever need to experience this pain again. This is largely attributed to the fact that your spine has been in the same postural pattern when sitting as when standing… simple!
“Pull your finger back firmly- it hurts doesn’t it?”
This is an example of poor posture and this is what happens when we slouch or get out of our correct upright positions.
A devastating example of mass health deterioration currently reported is people slouching on the lounge with the phone or tablet in hand hour after hour, or sitting at a desk concentrating on a computer for hours.
Classically a postural syndrome is the result of prolonged postures or positions that can affect joint surfaces, muscles, or tendons. Pain may be local and reproducible when end range positions, such as slouching, are maintained for sustained periods of time. Repeated movements do not change symptoms in postural syndrome patients, and response (i.e. pain relief) is usually immediate.
It is valuable to have the patient perform poor postural positions followed by the symptom-abolishing positions in order for them to ‘understand’ what is leading to their discomfort and train patients to avoid them.’ (McKenzie classifications)
Consciously maintaining good posture every day is valuable to all of us, as it can prevent injuries.
Great posture can- prevent injuries, aid in better circulation, allows our airways to provide more oxygen to our bloodstream – the list goes on…..
So how can you be sure to practice good posture? Regardless of whether you’re lying down, sitting, standing or moving, it’s important to always be mindful of your posture and the common mistakes made when you allow your posture to sag. Good posture helps your body to move more easily and prevent injuries. Often after prolonged poor posture your body will develop shortening of structures, leading to abnormal postural positions. Here are a few examples of how to practice good posture with the assistance of Comfyback:
Sitting correctly is vital as many of us spend our entire week in this position. When we sit, we generally have no back support and we inevitably begin to slouch, putting our backs into a leaning forward position (flexion). This pattern elicits pain more regularly and can eventually cause real damage to your body. To help reduce your risk, here are a few tips to achieving better sitting posture:
Chair – Make sure you have a good quality chair that has the ability to be adjusted to your requirements. This includes seat height, back-rest height and angle, and sometimes even seat angle adjustment. (Hint: the back-rest needs to support the curve in your lower back to encourage good posture – if it doesn’t, get yourself a Comfyback!)
Body positioning – Sit as far back in the chair as possible with your tailbone sitting at the back of your chair and your back flush with the backrest. Knees should be kept at hip height or slightly below and the back of your chair should be at a 10° angle off centre. Your chin should be tucked in (not forward) and your shoulders should be drawn down and together with your back and arms at the recommended 90 degrees. Feet should be flat on the floor (or a foot rest if required).
Computer positioning – Your monitor should be positioned at eye level or slightly below. You should avoid a spot where the screen is likely to see glare and should be distanced at approximately arm’s length away. Tip: ensure the monitor is positioned directly in front of you (to avoid awkwardly positioning yourself in relation to the screen).
Relax – Relax your neck and shoulders and keep your head aligned over your spine. Forward head posture encourages neck and shoulder pain which can lead to tightness and headaches.
Take breaks – Make sure to take regular breaks and vary the time you spend between keyboard and mouse tasks. Inactivity for long periods of time encourages back pain so make sure to move around to avoid muscle tension.
Crossing legs – Be aware that crossing your legs in the same direction all the time can cause your lower back to curve sideways. Remember to frequently alternate the side you’re crossing your legs to.
Back support – When sitting for extended periods of time, it’s important to support your back properly in order to maintain your natural lumbar curve. The thoracic hump of the Comfyback Deluxe will help to remind you where your shoulders should be to maintain a more vertical pattern. This will also assist in preventing pain from Curve Reversal when you eventually stand up. If you’re unsure which product is best for you, please contact us for more tailored information.
Recliner chairs – Do you sit in a recliner? Remember good postural patterns! By allowing the support of a Comfyback Deluxe or Wing to help maintain good posture, you are free to focus whilst maintaining the ability to get out of the chair comfortably.
Driving – Driving can be one of the worst positions possible. If driving causes you problems or you simply want to prevent pain when getting out of the car, try a back support like the Comfyback for your car seat.
To avoid the development of lower back pain and other problems, it is so important to stand with good posture. Correct posture reduces abnormal wearing of the joint surface, keeps bones and joints in correct alignment and decreases stress on ligaments. To help you practice better posture, here are some tips for good standing:
Body positioning – When standing, make sure to maintain a straight spine rather than slouching to one side (side bending). Stand with your weight evenly distributed between both feet. Keep your shoulder blades back and down, and ensure your earlobes are in the middle of your shoulders (tuck chin in, not forward). Always stand tall!
Standing for long periods – When forced to stand for extended time frames, the lordosis can increase which forces us to experience different pains. We are literally “hanging on the ligaments.” To correct this, squeeze your shoulders back and down, and pull your tummy in to help maintain a natural lordosis (not an exaggerated or flat one).
Change it up – Try to avoid standing in the same position for long periods of time. If you find that you must, try doing some intermittent pelvic tilts. Where possible, rest one of your feet on a stool or ledge and alternate this every 10 minutes. This is great for those who work on their feet.
Stooped positions (ie bending or lifting) – To decrease postural pain, avoid bending or lifting for the first 2 hours after getting up in the morning or after prolonged periods of sitting. If you are required to enter a stooped pattern, make sure to bend through the hips, knees slightly bent with a wide base and a slight lordosis in the back. When repeatedly bending or lifting, break it up by leaning back in the opposite direction (approx. 5 times per hour) to help prevent disc distortion and acute pain.
Going uphill – If going up-hill, don’t lean forward! Instead, put your arm behind your back and continue to walk tall.
Coughing and sneezing – If you’re a person who experiences pain when coughing or sneezing, there is a preparatory stance we can take to reduce symptoms of pain. If you sense a cough or sneeze coming on, stand upright and bend backwards (not forwards!) Bending forwards increases the likelihood of experiencing pain.
Learning to practice good posture is a great start, however training yourself to maintain these patterns is the most important part of sustained healthy postural patterns. To assist in maintaining these habits, make sure to keep the following in mind:
Having treated lots of back and neck injuries, I find it important to assess a patient, work out what exercise and patterns the patient needs to reduce symptoms and teach the patients how to self-manage their problems.
Prevention and maintenance of great posture in sitting comes from the Comfyback range.
We can only monitor a patient for as long as they want to be monitored. When treatment is finished for that immediate complaint and they feel great, they are once again bulletproof… until the next time they lift this or push that the wrong way.
We realise that patient education is the basis of good back health – they must then adopt that advice to maintain good back health. Treatment is always going to occur after the fact.
Therapists understand what good posture patterns look like, and what constitutes a good back support. This professional understanding differs greatly from what is readily available online, without any therapist assurances that the product is good for them or bad for them.
Clearly, adopting good postural patterns are key to remaining pain free – our spine can recover and remain in good condition just by us caring for ourselves. But just as important is to know that the back support products you adopt in order to maintain that posture are designed for the task.