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Is there a link between posture and arthritis pain?


Good posture is a basic rule of thumb for everyone. For people who suffer from arthritis incorrect posture can cause joint stress and pain. Our body is constantly at work holding us upright, against the force of gravity. Proper alignment is the key to avoiding stress on the back and overcompensation by other muscles that can cause injury. Our spine has a natural curve, and the bones and joints of the lower back are most often stressed by incorrect posture. Standing and sitting are not just body positions to be taken lightly; awareness of your body is of the essence to avoid the pain of arthritis.

When standing, incorrect positioning of the pelvis causes the stomach to extend forward and the lower back to arch, stressing the muscles. Pulling in the abdominals and repositioning the pelvis so that the tailbone points down to the floor can correct this misalignment. Alignment of the pelvis is also crucial when standing for long periods of time. By raising one foot slightly higher than the other, using a footstool or any other means, and alternating the feet, you keep your pelvis aligned and reduce stress. Whenever you stand, be aware of how you are holding your upper body, and if you are locking your knees. Awareness of body positioning will reduce instances of prolonged misalignment while standing.

Sitting calls for back support, maintaining the spine's natural curve. As with standing, if you hold any position for a long period of time, you should shift and move, whether by taking a break and standing for awhile, stretching, or propping your feet up to raise the level of the knees higher than the hips. Rising up from a sitting position should also be done systematically, keeping your back straight and using your hand and leg muscles to push you up and out of the chair. Maintaining your posture to avoid the pain of arthritis also includes choosing the proper furniture. Chairs, mattress, armrests and foot supports all help reduce strain on the joints and lower back muscles.


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