My posture is atrocious. Like many people with desk-bound office jobs, I spend most of the working day hunched over a keyboard.
It’s only when a back health or posture-related email floats into my inbox that I ping back into an upright position. But old habits die hard. It’s only a matter of time before I find I’ve slipped back into my slouch again without even noticing.
The thing is, it’s easier to keep your posture in check when you’re in an office, where everything from the desk height to the chairs, with their lumbar support and armrests, are calibrated to support good back health.
The dangers of working from home
When the coronavirus pandemic first hit, those who could shifted to working from home. We may now be used to WFH life, but everything from loungewear to a haphazard desk are conspiring against us- especially our spines.
According to Nuffield Health, 7 in 10 Brits currently home-working say they are experiencing more aches and pains in the back, neck, shoulders, legs and joints, more problems with eye strain, and more headaches than usual when working from home.
Protect your back health while WFH
Luckily there are many things you can do to help ease back pain. With many offices telling employees not to return until summer or even 2022, it’s worth investing in a proper desk and supportive chair.
Laptop-users should consider buying a laptop stand that props the screen up to eye level to ease neck pain, as well as a separate keyboard and mouse so you’re not held prisoner to your device when you’re working. And it goes without saying, that just like in a traditional office, you should get up to stretch your legs and move your body at regular intervals. The NHS has a list of helpful exercises - like planking and core-strengthening moves - for common back aches and problems.
But for general spinal support when you’re working, walking to the shops or relaxing at home, a posture corrector can work wonders.
Looking a little like the reins tired parents attach to curious, wandering toddlers, they’re typically made up of thick elastic straps to pull shoulders back and a supportive base to keep the spine correctly aligned. Slim and breathable, you can slip them on undetected under clothes or wear it for a couple of hours a day to help train your body to sit up properly.
See our favourites below
The Posture Hero
One of the leading back-health products around, the Posture Hero posture brace comes in a range of sizes to fit a variety of body shapes.
Designed by Harley Street’s London Spine Clinic, it’s fashioned from hypoallergenic straps and a lightweight 154g main panel covered in high-tension webbing. The idea is that it sits flat against your spine for support, while the thick elastic straps draw your shoulders into the correct angle.
The super strength velcro fastening crosses tight over the front, making everything feel very secure without restricting movement.
Having the Posture Hero strapped to your back is a constant - but not unpleasant - reminder to sit up straight. In fact, it actually feels uncomfortable if you slump, again promoting an upright sitting position.
The company says that you can wear this under clothing, but against bare skin the straps can rub around the front of the shoulders and neck. At first, it feels a bit awkward to be pulled sitting in a new position, but that’s to be expected as I gently coax my spine out of a lifetime of slouching.
The only reason I wouldn’t wear it visibly in the office is because of how it looks. It’s not going to win any beauty contests, but aesthetics is not why I’m wearing it - and on balance, I would rather wear this for a few hours every day now than be mistaken for the hunchback of Notre Dame’s long lost sister in the future.
Clever Yellow Back Support Belt
With more than 11,000 reviews on Amazon, this is one of the best sports back belts on the site to address lower back pain.
Available in four sizes it offers amazing lumbar support - ideal for anyone recovering from an injury, those who experience lower back pain and people who suffer from sciatica, herniated discs, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, hip pain, post-surgery and more. There’s a strong grip around the band and it shrinks and expands too, so no need to worry if you fluctuate in weight.
FREETOO Back Support Brace
Anyone who suffers from lower back pain in general will appreciate support like this. It comes with a built-in coiled spring and aluminium supports around the sides of the waist and lumbar and is reinforced with wide elastic and strong PVC velcro fastenings. Four sizes available - from Small to XL - and a six month-warranty is included. A great option for anyone with persistent back problems.
Marakym Posture Corrector – Adjustable Clavicle Brace
A brace to help you counteract the bad back habits formed by modern life, this clavicle brace is made from neoprene, which makes it strong yet breathable. It's slim enough to slip on under your clothes, or you can wear it on top of your outfit like an exo-skeleton. There's no front fastening on this design; simply slide your arms into the loops to push your shoulders back into the right position.
Upright GO 2 Lighter, Smaller Posture Corrector
If you don’t like the idea of being strapped into a brace, even for a few hours a day, this high tech device could be an option. You attach it to your back and it tracks your posture for up to 10 hours, vibrating quietly when you bend out of shape. You can also watch your progress with an app that delivers all your information directly to your phone. It has 30 hours of battery life from a full charge, so you can wear it all day to keep your posture in check.