Life & Style

Why It’s OK to Slouch Sometimes

The Younger Next Year Back Book and Healthy Posture Sitting At the Computer

The Younger Next Year Back Book has achievable solutions for back pain sufferers.

As a chiropractor, Dr. Jeremy James has spent years developing a treatment process that offers permanent solutions to even debilitating back pain.

Rule number one—Stop Doing Dumb Stuff. One of those “dumb” things is sitting at a computer for hours on end…


The most serious of these “stop being dumb” problems—and the hardest to address—is sitting for hours at your computer. You will say you simply can’t stop that. It’s your job, it’s what you do for a living, it’s your life, and so on. All right, I surely understand that: It’s what slapped me on my back, in agony, not too long ago. Working at the computer was my life, too, but it almost put an end to my career. So let’s address that one first, the irresistible business of sitting for hours at your computer. The first fix—and it won’t be easy at first—is just to get up every twenty or thirty minutes and move around. That alone will do wonders. Do that religiously, and you can continue to use your computer.

Folks tell me that they cannot get up that often. They will lose their train of thought, they will get jumpy and weird . . . they just can’t do it. Well, yes, they can. And they have to, because continuing to do what you do is not working for you. So just plain do it. Get up. Change your position. Do some stretches. Go chat with someone. Do anything. In my experience, your concentration will be better, not worse, once you get slightly used to it. Whether or not that turns out to be true for you, just do it. It is a critical first step for many, many of you.


It may help to get a standing desk. But please bear in mind that it is not the standing that is the answer, it’s the movement. You are more apt to move around if you work at a standing desk, which is good. But make no mistake: It is just as bad to stand in one position all day as to sit in one position all day. Movement and change are the answers, not buying a standing desk. Some people get so serious about this that they buy “treadmill desks,” so you are actually walking (very slowly) as you work. I haven’t tried it. The same goes for sitting on a big exercise ball. That, per se, doesn’t do much good (indeed, your posture may get worse which is disastrous). But you are more likely to move, on the ball. Try it if it appeals to you.

The most obvious (and effective) thing to do is to just get up and walk around for a moment or two, every half hour or so. Another solution, just change the way you’re sitting from time to time. I hate to say this but, if your posture is pretty good, hunch forward for a few minutes, once in a while. Be “bad.” If your posture is lousy, by all means make it good, and use good posture most of the time. But any movement is good, including the occasional slouch. It’s movement that matters, any movement. Cross your knees, from time to time. Hold your legs out straight and tense your muscles as hard as you can, and hold for 20 seconds. It feels good and it works. Lean back, opening up the front of your hip, bend forward without rounding your back. Jiggle one foot. Any silly excuse to move will do. But move.

Younger Next Year Back Book

About The Younger Next Year Back Book

At some point in their lives, 80% of Americans will seek expert help for back pain. It’s an epidemic, with a cost to society in medical expenses and lost productivity that is steeper than heart disease. But remember the 80% figure—that’s the astonishing cure rate at Dr. Jeremy James’s Aspen Club Back Institute. A Doctor of Chiropractic who took that path because of his own severe injury-induced back pain, he has developed a revolutionary behavioral/whole-body approach to help sufferers heal—and often eliminate—back pain forever.

Co-written with Chris Crowley, The Younger Next Year Back Book follows the alternating chapter format of the #1 New York Times bestselling Younger Next Year and other books in the series. And just as millions of readers positively changed their lives following Harry’s Rules in Younger Next Year, the millions of back pain sufferers can find relief following Jeremy’s rules, including Stop Doing Dumb Stuff, Be Still So You Can Heal,and Stand Tall for the Long Haul. He explains the workings of the spine and muscles, and then why back pain is almost never a disease, per se, but the result of behavior. He then shows how to change our behavior, find a neutral spine, and begin a regimen of simple exercises—with step-by-step two-color illustrations—to realign our core to virtually eliminate back pain forever. Chris Crowley, in his been-there-done-that-and-you-can-too-damnit! voice, provides all the motivation and patient perspective we need.

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