Ignoring your posture can cause back pain and affect your health overall. It's easy to overlook the pain that comes from poor posture for a while, but it's your body's way of getting your attention.
Having poor posture over the long term is when you sustain real damage.
It's important to keep your back healthy as you age.
Poor posture forces you to overwork the muscles in your neck and back. Your immune system's efforts to heal those muscles spur inflammation that can lead to arthritis in nearby joints.
In the article below, we'll look at the impact poor posture has on your back and health, and what you can do to prevent it.
Table of Contents
- Bad Posture Habits
- How Poor Posture Causes Back Pain
- Be Mindful of Your Desk Setup
- Move Around
- Exercises to Improve Your Posture
- Chiropractic Care For Poor Posture
Bad Posture Habits
Most of our activities involve a combination of actions, such as walking, sitting, standing, bending, lifting, and lying down.
Bad habits that can be developed while performing these actions include:
- Slouching on your office chair or couch
- Lying on your belly in bed while working on a laptop/reading a book
- Working on your laptop in bed
- Hunching forward while washing dishes for a long time
- Standing with the weight of your body concentrated on one leg
- Walking in a hunched manner without supporting the head or the trunk
- Lifting heavy objects off the floor by bending your back
If you've developed one of these bad habits, you will likely experience back pain.
A sedentary lifestyle or lack of physical activity can also cause more stress and pain to develop in your lower back region.
How Poor Posture Causes Back Pain
With poor posture, several areas of stress may develop within your muscle tissue, spinal joints, and discs.
These stresses may be relieved once the offending posture is corrected.
Or they will continue to accumulate, slowly weakening the affected structure, for example:
- Prolonged hunching while standing or sitting can cause your back, core, and abdominal muscles to become strained and painful. This reduces their blood supply, and slowly developing stiffness and weakness in the lower back.
- An unsupported sitting position places a small forward bend on the spine. Over time, this forward bend may put a load on the lower spinal discs, causing herniation.
- An incorrect-lifting technique can cause your lumbar disc to herniate, causing pain in the lower back or pain to radiate into your leg through a nearby spinal nerve.
- Working on a laptop or reading while lying on your belly can cause your lower back and hip to bend backward, altering the dynamics of the lower spinal curve.
Tweak Your Habits To Improve Your Posture
So, how can you tweak your habits to remedy the problem? Here a few suggestions.
Be Mindful of Your Desk Setup
Hold your shoulders and arms at a 90-degree angle when you sit at your desk to work and make sure your monitor is straight ahead at eye level.
When you hold your head in line with your shoulders, it only weighs about 10 pounds.
But for every inch you tilt it forward, the amount of weight it places on your spine nearly doubles.
When you stand poorly, it also creates problems for your neck and back.
A standing desk at your office is an excellent option to have, but you'll still need to watch your posture.
Keep your spine in a neutral position, and make sure you don't lean back or lean too far forward.
And, again, position your computer screen high enough to avoid looking downward.
No matter if you sit or stand at work, you need to be sure to move around as much as possible.
Walk around about once every hour for a few minutes if you can.
Even when you're stuck at your desk, you can still find ways to move.
If you have a standing desk, you still need to move. Sway a bit, or step forward and backward for a while, throughout the day.
If you have a traditional desk, try to stretch your legs and your arms if you can't get up for a break.
Exercises to Improve Your Posture
Adding exercise into your daily routine can help you feel better quickly.
However, as with any other exercise routine, it takes about four to six weeks to see real change.
Here are a few exercises that can strengthen muscles to improve your posture:
- Superman. Lie on your stomach, and raise your arms and legs a couple inches off the ground. Hold, relax, and repeat.
- Crunches, planks, and leg extensions all help strengthen your core muscles.
- Neck extension. Sit comfortably, and press your head firmly back into your headrest, or into your hands. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat to build strength.
- Work your trapezius and rhomboid muscles to help pull your shoulders back. Hold an exercise band in front of you at shoulder height, then stretch it across your chest, bending your arms slightly. Return to starting position and repeat.
Chiropractic Care For Poor Posture
If your chiropractor finds any joint dysfunctions or misalignments in your spine, a chiropractic adjustment is performed to correct them.
An adjustment also helps to stimulate your body's natural healing process, so that your body can work as it was meant to.
Your chiropractor will also check for postural imbalances.
Maybe due to poor posture, you have one shoulder higher than the other or a tilted pelvis.
Over time, these imbalances can have a severe impact on the body's central nervous system.
A chiropractor helps to correct these postural imbalances while at the same time encouraging your body to work more optimally.
If you'd like to speak to a chiropractor about your posture, contact the team at Advanced Injury Care.
Their team will make sure that a thorough physical examination is performed so that all injuries are properly diagnosed and documented, and a custom treatment plan can be developed.
Click on the button below to fix your posture and begin the road to recovery.