Improving your posture to Keep Your Spine Healthy
Spending more time on the couch, at your computer, and on your mobile devices has probably led you to visit Google to search for ways to start improving your posture a time or two. Most likely you're experiencing some pain to go along with your posture too. Those searches have probably also left you wondering… what exactly is posture?
Well, posture is the position that your body maintains while standing, sitting, or lying down. To put it another way, posture is how you hold your body. To put it yet another way, posture is the particular stance you have when sitting, standing, running, walking, sleeping, and even bending over.
Posture is one of those things that we all know we need to work on. When you slouch in your chair or stand with poor posture, you put extra strain on your joints and force your muscles to work harder, and that can result in pain.
Take your neck for example. If you sit with your head’s center of gravity aligned over the spine, your neck muscles need to do very little work. However, if you sit with your head tilted forward as you would when checking your email or social media on your phone or computer, the muscles in your neck take on the extra strain it takes to hold your head in that position. That results in a lot of extra work for your neck muscles, and your body has to compensate.
Weakened or unbalanced muscle strength can result in additional stress on your spinal joints. Over time, the additional stress caused by postural imbalances and tired muscles can lead to changes in how you move and pain.
Are you experiencing daily, nagging aches and pains? Take it from us, getting a posture assessment at Ghessi Chiropractic in Fleetwood, PA is a great place to start. And there are things you can do from the comfort of your own home as well.
Why it Matters:
Improving your posture means making adjustments to keep your spinal curves aligned and your weight evenly distributed. Good posture is essential because it helps reduce the stress on your spine and joints, and with gravity pulling down on you every day, that’s important. Less stress means your spinal joints and ligaments can move more freely through their full range of motion.
So, improving your posture can have positive impacts on how well you move and how good you feel. What’s more, new research also indicates that maintaining a good or balanced posture can help you use your muscles more efficiently and prevent fatigue. Getting a posture assessment can help you determine the best ways to start actively improving your posture.
To avoid back pain, your best posture may be one of motion. Chiropractors often like to say, "motion is lotion" (for your body). If you sit in one position too long, there are small nerves in your body that will detect the mounting pressure and send messages to your brain indicating that you're uncomfortable. Researchers believe that those signals are our body's way of telling us to change positions before we begin to experience pain. That's a reason we also like to say pain stands for “pay attention inside now.” Here, that discomfort you feel is your prompt to move!
Changing positions or using a standing desk can help you start improving your posture and reduce your risk of experiencing chronic neck and back pain. And if you've been considering investing in a standing desk, get this. Standing desks have been shown to reduce the recurrence of back pain by over 30% when compared to sitting at a desk.
One of the best ways to start improving your posture is not staying in a single position for too long. To help relieve and balance the physical stress placed on your body each day, it’s recommended that you stand and move around frequently. Changing your position at regular intervals, using a lumbar support when seated, and even using a standing desk are all ways to reduce fatigue and pain and to actively start improving your posture.
If you’re having a hard time remembering to move, set a timer on your phone to help you keep track of the time and develop the habit. If you tend to sit for long periods, make those reminders to stand. You could take it a step further and use that time to refill your water bottle to help keep you hydrated. Better yet, you could use that time to perform a couple of the postural exercises we showed you the last time you were in the office or on our social channels. Different apps can help make your practice easy. Just figure out what works best for you and do your best to stick to it.
And if you notice you’re not able to move through your body's full range of motion without pain, don’t put off getting checked out. Take 5 minutes to schedule a posture assessment in with Dr. Ghessi i Fleetwood, PA.
By proactively addressing your movement issues today, we can start improving your posture before those nagging aches and pains set in!
Back Health and Posture. Cleveland Clinic. 2020.
Breaking Up Sitting with Standing Improves Discomfort. Occup Environ Med. 2014.