Posture, or the way in which you carry yourself, plays a key role in your body’s overall health and well-being. Most people are taught at an early age to walk upright without slumping over. As time progresses, however, we begin to forget these otherwise simple rules, increasing the risk for various musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) of the back and neck. So, how exactly does posture affect your health?
If left untreated, poor posture can result in an unnatural curvature of spine. Known as scoliosis, this is an all-too-common condition that affects between 5 to 7 million people in the United States, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). While minor cases of scoliosis rarely cause any immediate need for concern, some of the more serious cases involving large degrees of unnatural curvature can cause pain, inflammation and limited mobility, as well as visible deformation of the spine.
Another reason why it’s important to maintain proper posture is because it affects the joints. When you go throughout the day slouched over (or exhibiting any other unnatural posture), it places excessive stress on the joints, increasing the risk of early arthritis. The human body is designed to move in a certain way, and failure to carry yourself in this manner will add unnecessary stress to your joints.
Of course, posture also affects your muscles, protecting them from strains and overuse. These are just a few of the many reasons why you should always be conscious of your posture.
Tips for Healthy Standing Posture:
* Stand upright and don’t slouch forward.
* Keep your knees slightly bent.
* Relax your shoulders.
* Keep your body weight placed on the heels of your feet.
* Keep your shoulders level to one another.
* Don’t push your stomach and/or chin out.
* Feet should be planted directly below the hips, about shoulder-width apart.
Tips for Healthy Sitting Posture:
* Keep your feet planted on the floor, about shoulder-width apart.
* Your knees should be at roughly the same height, or slightly below, your waist.
* Allow your shoulders to relax.
* When sitting for long periods of time, take regular breaks to stand up and stretch.
* Keep your head faced forward, avoiding unnecessary tilting of the neck.
* Use an ergonomic chair that offers proper support for the lumbar (lower back) region.
Tips for Healthy Lifting Posture:
* The golden rule of lifting posture is to lift with your legs, not your back.
* When lifting, bend your knees until your thighs are almost parallel to the ground, pick up the object, and straighten your thighs while raising the object.
* Avoid lifting awkwardly shaped objects alone.
If you are suffering from back pain from sitting too much or working too hard, come in to Summit Chiropractic. Our experienced staff can help relieve your pain with massage therapy or chiropractic care.