When you were young, your mom told you to sit up straight and not slouch. She may have even tried to teach you proper posture by walking with a book on your head. As much as you may not want to admit it, your mom was right. Good posture not only makes you look better, but bad posture can lead to a host of physical problems.
Bad Posture Problems
The human body is a wondrous machine with all parts working together to allow us to think, move, restore, and refuel. We may come in different shapes and sizes, but the basic structure of the body is the same, with an optimal design where everything fits together perfectly. When a cog in the machine is not in line with the rest, parts of the machine begin to break down.
Some of the problems that bad posture can cause are:
Harm to your knees. A misaligned spine can put pressure on your joints including your knees.
Low energy. Bad posture causes stress on parts of your body that weren’t designed to hold a lot of weight. This tends to zap a person’s energy.
Lowered self-esteem. A study by Ohio State University found that bad posture can have a negative effect on your self-image.
Shoulder and back pain. Slouching can put pressure on your back and shoulders.
Incontinence. Slouching can put pressure on the bladder that can cause leaks to happen.
Sleep problems. While bad posture decreases your energy, the pain that misalignments create can make it difficult to sleep.
Poor digestion. If you slouch, it compresses your organs which can affect your digestion as well as your metabolism.
Constricted nerves. Spinal misalignment because of bad posture can pinch nerves.
TMJ. A misaligned spine can affect your jaw bone and lead to temporomandibular joint pain.
Increased cardiovascular disease. This can be caused by blood vessel constriction.
Heartburn. Bad posture can put pressure on the stomach which can worsen acid reflux.
Joint problems. These can lead to arthritis or make your arthritis worse.
Pain on one side of the body. This tends to happen in the hip, knee, and ankle from an uneven posture.
How You Can Fix It
The good news is that you can improve your posture and reduce these risks without walking around with a hardcover on your head.
Probably the most important step in improving your posture is to always be mindful of the way you are standing or sitting. Unfortunately, if you’ve been slouching for years, making a change to your posture is going to take some conscious effort and if you’re not always thinking about it, your body will just do what it’s always been doing.
When sitting, sit correctly with your legs at a 90° angle with your thighs and hips parallel to the floor and your feet flat on the floor. Your elbows should be close to your body. If you’re sitting a computer, your monitor should be at eye level and your spine in a straight, neutral position. Your shoulders should be relaxed, but not rounded or too far back.
Don’t cross your legs or sit on your legs when you relax on the sofa. It may be comfortable but if you want good posture, it’s a no-no. Use lumbar support to ensure proper alignment when sitting. Put a pillow or cushion at your lower back or better yet, get an ergonomic chair that has proper lumbar support.
If you work by sitting for long periods, it’s important to get up and move around often. Try a standing desk, but even with a standing desk, you should shift your weight and move around periodically. Stretching your muscles often will relieve muscle tension caused by inactivity.
When standing, you should stand straight and tall with your shoulders back, your stomach in, arms hanging at your sides, and your weight on balls of your feet. Your head should be up with your chin parallel to the ground.
By standing and walking correctly, the way our bodies are designed to do, they are more energy-efficient and can perform smoothly without pain. If you are experiencing pain or other issues that may be related to poor posture, North County Pain Relief can help. We offer a natural, drug-free approach to healing and put the health and wellbeing of all of our patients above all. Call us today at (314)731-4201 and schedule an appointment. The sooner you do, the sooner we can help relieve your pain and improve your posture for better overall health.