Do you have back pain from zooming? Lying down on the floor for 5-10 minutes is a great way to look after your back, especially if you’re sat at a screen all day.
This allows your back to unfurl after slumping. The floor gives us support. Taking time out also benefits our mind. Stopping. Pausing. We can breathe more easily. Tuning into our self is mindful. Noticing our body. Noticing our emotions.
- Surface: Ideally, lie on the floor rather than a bed/sofa.
- Head. Support your head with books so that your neck is in neutral. If there are too many books, your chin will tuck down and it may be difficult to swallow. With too few books, your head will roll back, pushing your chin upwards. Make sure the books don’t dig into your neck.
- Legs. Bend your legs and look for a comfortable distance away from your torso. Your knees should float up towards the ceiling independently: don’t lean them against each other. Ensure your feet are flat against the floor. Experiment with the distance between them: you want to to feel like your legs are balanced rather than being held tightly. You should be able to relax all the muscle groups in your legs, including those behind the knee.
- Arms. Place your hands on your belly or your chest. Alternatively, put them out to your sides, with your hands facing up. Ensure there’s some space under your armpits so you don’t end up bunched up under your arms.
- Release tension step by step. First, start thinking at the neck to let the neck free.
- Think of your back lengthening and widening.
- Think of your legs extending from the torso and your arms widening away from it.
- ‘Scan’ down your body to find areas of tension and see if you can relax them.
- Breathing slowly and deeply can also help your muscles release tension. After a little while, allow the breathing to be natural and not forced.
- Back pain from zooming can ease
- Placing books underneath your head supports the whole body, giving muscles that are often tense a chance to relax.
- It can help your posture. It helps shortened muscles to release and lengthen.
- Calming the body helps calm the mind.
- Taking time to tune into our bodies encourages a subtle awareness of ourselves. It helps us release tension, and become more aware of our posture in daily activities.
If you’re zooming when sitting on the sofa, have a look at these top tips too.
Sitting on the sofa can be a recipe for slouching. The seat looks inviting but slouching can put a lot of pressure on the lower back and neck.
Top Tip for Better Posture – Cushions
Most sofas have quite a deep seat. This is great for lying down but not ideal for sitting, especially if you don’t have long legs.
Top tip: put a cushion – or two or three – against your UPPER back. This helps keep the pelvis and the spine more upright. In turn, the head will also be better balanced over the spine, reducing pressure on the lower back.
Sofas are often quite low. For a taller person, their knees can end up being higher than their hips when sitting. This tips the pelvis backwards and puts pressure on the lower back. An older person can struggle to get up from a low sofa.
Options are to sit on a cushion to raise the height or to have a something the same height as the sofa seat in front of the legs. Here you can have your legs lengthened out, perhaps with a cushion under your knees to keep the knees slightly bent.
Getting up from a low chair
This can be quite tricky, especially for some older people, taller people or anyone with dodgy knees.
Top tip: bring yourself to the front of the sofa before getting up. Here, you’ll get a bit of purchase against the frame of the sofa to give you something to push up from, rather than a saggy cushion.
The biggest difference to looking after yourself is to think about your body. It’s much more than about furniture and cushions. I can help you move easily getting onto the sofa and getting up again. I can help you sit comfortably without putting pressure on your back, no matter what your age nor what state your back is in.
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Lumbago, or lower back pain, is very common. It can be felt anywhere along the spine – from the neck down to the hips. The back pain can sometimes be chronic, lasting a long time, or it may keep coming back. The Alexander Technique helps us see if we are causing or exacerbating the backache. Is the back soreness from poor posture? Does it start from how we sit or stand? Does bending or lifting things make it worse? Do exercises help or hinder the progress?
Lying down – Back support
In Alexander Technique lessons, we look at all of this. We identify what good, natural posture should be and what helps set up a strong back. Lying down on the floor with books under the head, keeping the knees bent, is one of the best things for back health. This supports the back and gives a chance for tight muscles to relax.
The mind body link is so important. ArtOfPosture lessons will teach you how to relax as this can be easier said than done. You will find out how to connect more with your body and what thoughts help the muscles release tension.
Sitting, Standing, Bending
We can sit, stand and bend in ways that affect lower back pain: slumping, leaning on one leg, bending with straight legs, over arching the lower back. The hands on work from ArtofPosture will gently guide you to a more comfortable way of using your body. It helps you to help yourself and to get to the cause of the lumbago, not just the symptoms.
No time like the present
Why wait until your back is really bad? Try out an Alexander Technique lesson and invest in your back health sooner rather than later. Come for one session and see if it works for you. Then you can think about booking up a course of lessons. The Alexander Technique session is a proven way for sufferers of chronic back pain.
People often think the Alexander Technique is about imagining a string or golden thread coming up from the top of the head. It is certainly useful to think upwards. Much of our attention is downward: reading, typing, texting, cooking, childcare. This can make us slump and this can cause back pain or neck pain.
String on top of the head – Neck Tension?
A thread coming up from the top of the head can sometimes make people over stretch their neck. They may also tip the head backwards. And this can bring tension into the body.
String on top of the head – Back Pain?
Backache, whether it’s lower back pain or upper back pain, can happen when we’re trying to do the right thing. But knowing what the right thing is can be tricky. And so the Alexander Technique is useful as it dispels some myths. If you are overstretching imagining the string, then you might still have back tension or lower back pain.
Good posture is free and not rigid or held
We want connection to the floor as well as thinking up to the top of the head. Try some of these ideas listed below as well as imagining the string and then see what works for you. There’s only so much we can do for ourselves. We rely on feelings that may be faulty and have habits we’re unaware of. An Alexander Technique teacher has an objective eye to see what your habits are – where you overstretch or where you slump. They can then guide you, through explaining and hands on work, so you can have better posture and feel more comfortable.
Think up from your feet all the way to the top of your crown.
Think of the space above your head.
Imagine your hair sprouting from the top of your head.
Imagine bubbles constantly travelling up through your body to the top of your head.
Find an Alexander Technique teacher
You’re welcome to contact me for a free 15 minute consultation on the phone or zoom before trying out a lesson with me. If you don’t live in London, then my professional body can guide you to someone in your area.
I love working with pregnant women. During pregnancy, a woman’s body is changing rapidly. It’s important to develop good habits early on to help avoid back pain.
Pregnancy – Adjusting to the Bump
I help women to strengthen their back and to find balance and ease, both physically and emotionally. We do a lot of work with bending to learn how to support the back properly both during pregnancy and when the baby arrives. I also have ways to show how not to arch the back which is a common posture during pregnancy.
We look at preparing for labour and getting ready for when the baby comes, being back and neck aware. If a couple wants, I can also work with the birth partner so they know how they can support mum. One thing I focus on is the quality of touch so that the touch is supportive and not adding to tension.
It’s best to start as early as possibly – ideally from 3 months.
Adjusting to the baby
There’s so much to adjust to when a new baby comes into the world, that mums (and dads/partners) can forget to think about their own bodies. And this can cause havoc with their backs.
It can also be quite stressful and emotional.
In an Alexander Technique session, we can look at a range of practical activities such as:
- bending and avoiding back ache: over the pram, cot, bath, changing mat
- breastfeeding without straining your back and neck
- sitting comfortably when playing with the kids on the floor
- carrying your baby without arching the back
- working out the best way to wear a sling
- using baby car seats without damaging your back
- how to find calm and reduce anxiety.
I’m very happy for parents to bring the baby into the lesson. If the baby’s sleeping then the two of us can work together. If the baby needs attention, we can work while you hold the baby or breastfeed.
I’m also happy to sing to the baby to soothe him or her – lullabies and football songs, whatever their preference!