How to avoid back pain at the movie theater

Movies and back painThe Oscars are coming up, which means you have to see all the films nominated for Best Picture so you know which one rightfully deserves to win, right? The only small problem with that is spending consecutive two-hour stints in a movie theater seat. While most are cushiony, sitting still anywhere for that length of time means your back is going to be angry when you ask it to get up and get moving again when the credits roll.

Below, check out some tips for making movie-watching a pain-free outing from now on:

Get comfy, but not too comfy. In other words, don’t hunch or slouch. There should be a slight forward curve in the low back. Your back is strained when you slouch because it puts pressure on the joints, muscles and discs.

Bring support. You can add lumbar support to help achieve that curve needed for good posture. Roll up a sweatshirt and place it at the small of your back, level with your beltline.

Fidget just a little. The spine doesn’t like to be locked in place for too long at any one time. Every so often while watching the movie (about every 20 minutes or so), readjust your posture slightly, and you’ll notice less pain at the end of your sitting period.

Choose the aisle seat. This allows you to stretch your legs out straight, which in turn, helps to ease some of the pressure on the ligaments in your back. When not extended, make sure your legs are bent at a 90-degree angle, feet flat on the floor. For ladies, this means it’s not a great idea to wear your stilettos to the theater.

Use the armrests. Resting your arms will take some strain off your upper spine and shoulders, and will help prevent you from slouching.

Skip the extra large popcorn. Want to be healthy all around? We know it’s hard, but resist the temptation for a big tub of movie theater popcorn, which can log in at a staggering 1,200 calories. Making a healthy choice (sneak in a granola bar or your own fresh fruit slices) will pay off in pain-free back points later. Being at a healthy weight lowers your overall incidence of back pain and increases the likelihood you’ll exercise more (after the movie, of course).

Do you know why you’re in pain? Some 85 percent of low back pain cases are classified as “non-specific,” meaning they can’t be blamed on one specific structure in your body or problem. But, if experiencing back pain after sitting for a while is a new occurrence, it’s not smart to just write it off as “normal” aches and pains. It could be the sign of something more serious, and it doesn’t hurt—literally—to get checked by your doctor. This is especially true if your low back pain is accompanied by a fever, numbness, tingling or if you’ve recently endured a trauma or accident.


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