Surprising Effects Poor Posture Has On Your Health
DId you know that your posture can tell people a lot about your personality?
It can also tell doctors and chiropractors a lot about how your muscles and joints are working.
Imagine someone strong and confident standing in front of you. How have you visualised them? Rather than thinking of their facial expression, you’ve probably thought about their posture - standing tall, head high, chest out.
Now imagine the opposite - someone who is introverted or shy. They don’t maintain eye contact, therefore their head may be bowed, their shoulders slumped forward.
How you present yourself to the world relies a lot on your posture. Yet despite the importance of maintaining a good posture, we generally don’t do anything about it. We deal with the pain of hunched backs and imbalanced hips because we may associate it with the ageing process - something we can’t do anything about.
Well I’m going to tell you that you can. Because much of it is avoidable!
What Health Problems Can Be Associated With Bad Posture?
This list is not exhaustive, but some of the more common associations are;
Chronic neck, shoulder, and back pain
Rotator cuff injuries
Perhaps surprisingly, it has been suggested that poor posture can also negatively impact your digestive organs. According to a 2015 article from the American Posture Institute, they suggest that too much sitting down will compress the organs, rendering them incapable of functioning properly. Not only will food take longer to digest, your metabolic rate will also suffer.
One of the more noticeable effects of poor posture is a change in the curvature of the spine. The Chiropractic Resource Organisation states that the spine has four natural curves, that create an “s” shape. When pressure builds, over time, these curves slowly start to change position. The result, eventually, is that your spine is no longer able to absorb shock, or maintain a good balance.
Failure to stretch or walk about every hour or so, will only add extra pressure to the spine, and you may start to experience chronic back pain and even disc degeneration. To relieve the stress you place on your spine caused by sitting down for long periods, sit all the way back in your chair and sit up straight.
NB; Sitting too
far forward will place strain on your pubic bone; and sitting too far back will put pressure on the tailbone. It’s important to find the middle ground.
Can Poor Posture Be Reversed?
You’ll be pleased to hear that you’ve achieved the first step towards doing this already - just by reading this article! It’s to simply be aware of your posture. This awareness will ensure that you are checking yourself regularly throughout the day. If you have an office job whereby you’re sitting down most of the time, check out this article I wrote on how to keep flexible at work
Strengthen your core - as we age, we start to lose height, but exercises found in Yoga or Pilates help to focus on awareness and balance, which help you to stand taller
Learn to breathe properly - yes, seriously! There are many exercises that can help you to breathe more effectively using your diaphragm, and other breathing exercises that lengthen your spine and engage your core muscles
Looking at your smartphone regularly will give you what’s becoming commonly known as “text neck”. When your neck is lurched forward and your shoulders are slouching, the upper back starts to become more rounded, or hunched. Try holding your phone higher up instead of craning your neck downwards
Stretch when you get up - you’ve probably seen dogs and cats do this, and it’s for a good reason. Despite the fact you’ve been sitting, your muscles are fatigued… so before you start walking, stand with your feet apart, positioning your hands on the small of your back, and lean backwards as far as is comfortable. Hold for a few seconds, then with your hands on your hips, slowly turn your upper body to the left, then right. This will give you more flexibility now that you’re up and about
There are many other ways to help improve your posture, one of which is to see a chiropractor for a personal assessment.
So, now that I’ve given you a heads up (*chuckle*), head on over to our Contact Page to request an appointment, or call us on 0121 325 1927.