Good posture not only boosts your self-esteem and helps you exude confidence, but posture (both good and bad) affects your overall health.
In this blog, Barry Hughes, DC explains how posture affects your overall health and what we can do here at Premier Chiropractic in Pearland, Texas, if your posture is contributing to neck or back pain.
Posture is More Than Just Standing Tall
When it comes to good posture, neutral is good — a neutral spine, that is. Good posture happens when your spine is in the neutral position. The term neutral spine refers to the natural position of your spine, and it’s when all 3 curves of the spine — cervical, thoracic, and lumbar — are in proper alignment.
Having a good posture applies whether you’re sitting, standing, or moving throughout the day. Good posture affects all areas of your life and can improve your balance. Balance plays a critical role in almost everything you do from walking your dog to carrying groceries into your house. Poor posture, on the other hand, can weaken the very muscles that help you maintain your balance.
Poor posture can contribute to a variety of musculoskeletal health problems, such as:
- Lower back pain
- Neck pain
- Stiffness or tension in your shoulder muscles
- Muscle strain
- Arthritis, particularly hip arthritis caused by anterior spinal inclination
- Nerve and blood vessel constrictions
- Spinal curvature
Surprisingly, poor posture can also contribute to gastrointestinal problems. This includes incontinence, constipation, and heartburn. Many posture-related problems are interconnected. For example, if you slouch too much, the added pressure on your abdomen can contribute to leaking urine (incontinence) as well as heartburn.
If your posture isn’t in top shape while exercising, you can also increase your risk of sustaining a sports injury.
How Can You Improve Your Posture?
Remember, your posture is how you carry yourself at all times, whether you’re moving, still, standing, sitting, or engaged in a physical activity. If your body is used to poor posture (like slouching at a desk), it can take time to make proper posture into a habit. Slouching is so habitual that you might not even realize that you’re slouching!
Trying to break a habit isn’t easy, but it’s possible with these tips:
- Avoiding sitting or standing for prolonged periods if possible and take breaks to stand and stretch
- If sitting for prolonged periods, adjust your sitting positions often
- Stay active and take brief walks throughout the day
- Stretch your muscles daily
- Keep your feet firmly planted on the floor with your knees bent at 90 degrees
- Use a footrest if your feet don’t touch the floor while you’re sitting
- Relax your shoulders (avoid rounding them forward)
- Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart
- Keep your head level
- Pull your stomach in and keep your shoulders back
- Allow your arms to hang down naturally
- Keep your weight mostly on the balls of your feet, never the sides of your feet
- Wear comfortable shoes
While working on the computer
- Adjust your computer to eye level
- Avoid having your computer or phone at an angle that requires you to tilt or turn your head constantly
- Use an ergonomic chair with lumbar support (or add a lumbar pillow if your chair doesn’t have one)
- Consider an adjustable standing desk to allow for shifting positions throughout the day
In addition to the above tips, regular exercise, especially yoga, can help strengthen your core, which can also promote good posture and body awareness. Maintaining a healthy weight can also support good posture by reducing excess strain on your spine.
How Chiropractic Care Promotes Good Posture
Sometimes, you might need a little extra help overcoming poor posture and the back or neck pain that are associated with it. When you come to Premier Chiropractic, Dr. Hughes starts with a thorough exam to determine the cause of your back and/or neck pain and assess your muscle tone as well as your nerve health.
Physical therapy, including stretches and exercises, can help strengthen your core, which improves your posture. Other potential chiropractic treatments include manual adjustments and soft tissue work. Dr. Hughes can also recommend the appropriate lifestyle changes to help you adopt a habit of better posture.
If poor posture is contributing to back or neck pain, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment at our Pearland, Texas, office today. You can reach us at 281-223-1172 or through our online portal.