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5 Posture Mistakes That Hurt Your Back, Knees, and Hips

back pain hip pain knee pain pain relief posture

Standing, walking, sitting, bending, and sleeping postures all have room for errors. 

Saying “sitting is bad for you” is not necessarily true! 

Any posture that is done INCORRECTLY is bad for you. 

And a posture done correctly is just fine! 

Here are the 5 things to watch out for in all of the main postures if you want to prevent lower back, hip, or knee problems.  


When you’re standing, ideally, your knees are slightly bent, your core is lightly engaged, and your back is straight.  If your pain gets worse when you’re standing a lot, you may want to pay more attention to how relaxed your knees are when you stand.  Relaxed knees allow your hips to be more flexible too.  

As you walk, always land with a slightly bent leg.  


As you start to walk, your legs and glutes (butt muscles) should be pushing you forward.  The major mistake people make with their walking posture is just picking their feet up and putting them down, not actively pushing forward.  This can lead to foot, ankle, and knee problems. 

Think of how a horse walks - a little flick of the foot as it steps forward.  Try this slow at first to get used to it.  Take one step, so your feet are separated on the ground.  Now engage your butt muscles to push the back leg forward.  Activate all the way through to your foot as you PUSH forward.   


The discs at L4, L5 in your lower back are triangular-shaped.  Sitting "on your tail" not only looks awkward, but it will crunch those vertebrae eventually, causing damage.  

Sitting with a anteverted pelvis (like a bowl tilting forward), allows the spine’s natural shape to take place, and prevents injury.  From there, stack the rest of your spine straight.  (see tip #4) 

If your hips are too stiff to tilt forward, use a folded towel pushed toward the back of your chair to help.  


With bending over or lifting objects, the core engagement, which is really the ribs pulling in tight, as if you’re doing a crunch, is necessary to protect your lower back.  This rib tuck allows your lower back to relax.  Also, it allows your spine to stack up straight.  

Same thing when you're sitting.  Allowing the core to slump will hurt your spine.  

Think of pulling your belly button toward your spine.  


A lot of people think that their sleeping posture is the cause of their joint pains.   Before you shut your eyes, give a nice big stretch to straighten out your back.  Use a pillow under your knees to keep the your back relaxed.  

For side or front sleepers, use pillows under your hips or between your knees to keep your back straight.  I'm a side-sleeper, and what I do is scooch my behind back a little before I stretch out my spine into alignment.  I use a pillow under my top hip to support my pelvis so I can totally relax.  

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