Odds are, as you’re reading this you are slouching.
You could be sitting at your desk, on the couch, or standing up looking at your phone. Do a posture check and you’ll probably acknowledge you could be aligned up a little straighter.
For as simple as it is, posture has a huge effect on our bodies that could lead to long-term repercussions and treatment like neck and back physical therapy.
How It’s Connected to Back Pain
Having a bad posture puts a strain on your body, most notably your back. It stresses the spine which can change its anatomical structure over time.
This can constrict blood vessels and nerves and cause muscle, disc, and joint problems.
These problems can spider out into things like headaches, breathing troubles, and fatigue.
What’s worse is that this can turn into a vicious cycle: slouching causes back pain, and back pain causes worse posture, which leads to more pain.
Additionally, back pain can lead to neck pain, which brings a whole host of other problems.
What Causes Bad Posture
The most common movements can contribute to bad posture. You may be holding your head too high or keeping it hanging too low.
People who continuously look down at cell phones have bad posture, and those who work on computers can often fall victim to poor posture if they are not aligned correctly with their desk and keyboard.
Wearing heels, cradling a phone between your neck and shoulders, continuously carrying heavy bags on one side of the body, and poor mattresses or pillows will also put your body in a position for bad posture.
What is good posture?
Good posture puts your body in alignment, whether you’re sitting or standing. Everything is supported.
You go through many bodily positions in any given day, so knowing what good posture cues to look for is important.
Your ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles are in a straight line, providing musculoskeletal balance. This protects spine joints from excess stress and guards against injury or deformity.
When sitting, your back is straight and your shoulders should be back but relaxed away from the ears. Your feet should be flat on the floor, not crossed or tucked under your chair.
Everyday Tips to Avoid Bad Posture
If you work in an office, switching out your office chair for one with good lumbar support is a big help. Keep your back against the chair and your monitor slightly below eye level so as not to strain your neck.
You should also sit with your back firmly against the seat while driving.
As you walk, keep your head up and eyes straight ahead, with your shoulders in line with the rest of your body.
Don’t sleep on your stomach. Slumbering on your side or back puts less stress on the spine. If you do lie on your back, put a pillow under your knees to ease lower back tension.
Put a pillow between your slightly bent knees if laying on your side.
Start the day off by stretching your arms above your head, then hugging yourself and twisting to the left and right.
Exercising regularly will help strengthen muscles, specifically core ones that help support the spine