Lean back and relax—your spine will thank you. Doctors in Scotland used a new form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan 22 people while they were seated in different positions. Just 10 minutes of sitting hunched forward or ramrod straight—with thighs at a 90-degree angle to the body—compressed the disks, placing strain on muscles of the lower back. 

But when people sat on a cushion with their hips slightly higher than their knees—the trunk and thighs were at a 135-degree angle—the spine remained close to its natural alignment, easing pressure on disks and keeping muscles relaxed. Try raising your chair high enough to put your hips above your knees, or sit on a cushion and recline slightly. Those few degrees of difference may save you a lifetime of pain.


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