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Did you know that everyday activities can affect your posture? Working at a computer all day, prolonged sitting or standing, sleeping and carrying a purse can all contribute to poor posture. In addition to these, stress, pregnancy, obesity and poor muscle tone can lead to poor posture. Poor posture can zap your energy, reduce circulation and cause you to feel depressed.
Maintaining correct posture allows the bones and joints to be properly aligned, which helps reduce muscle strain. Poor posture can lead to injuries of the spinal structures, which can lead to back and neck pain. The following tips can help you improve your posture and reduce your neck and back pain.
Identify Poor Posture
The first thing that you need to learn is how to spot poor posture. Below are some behaviors that result in poor posture:
- Sitting or standing with your shoulders hunched forward and your spine curved inwardly or outwardly
- Carrying a heavy load on one side of your body
- Wearing high heel shoes can cause a misalignment of the hips, which affects posture
- Sleep positions and improper back support can cause poor posture
- Cradling a phone between the shoulder and the neck
- Constantly looking up or down at a computer screen
Standing allows your body weight to be evenly distributed across the body. A standing desk is a great way to help improve your posture.
When sitting in a chair, sit up straight and make sure your head is aligned with your spine and your feet on the floor. This will help you maintain proper posture. Never sit on your foot or cross your legs when you are sitting as they cause the hip and knees to rotate externally, which puts pressure on your joints.
Become more aware of your body and exercise regularly to help improve your posture. A posterior chain workout will help boost your strength and prevent poor posture. The exercises to improve your posture should include deadlifts, seated rows, squats, power cleans, squats, calf raises and side planks.
Sitting at a desk all day can wreak havoc on your posture. However, there are many exercises you can do to improve your posture while working at a desk. Check out these exercise and other tips:
- The shoulder roll is a great way to stretch out tense muscles. To do this, place your hands on your knees and roll your shoulders backwards.
- The side twist is another exercise that you can do in your office chair. For this exercise, grasp the side of your chair with one hand while keeping the other hand on your knee. Then gently turn towards the hand grasping the chair.
- For this next exercise, sit up straight and pull your shoulders blades back. This exercise stretches the chest muscles. Finally, get up from your desk every hour and walk about a bit to improve your circulation.
Do not sleep on your stomach. Believe it or not, how you sleep can affect your posture. Sleeping incorrectly can cause back and neck strain. Follow these suggestions to posture. When you sleep on your stomach, you cause strain on your neck, back, muscles and joints. Instead, opt to sleep on your back or side.
Mattress & Pillows
Upgrade your mattress. A soft or lumpy mattress will not provide the support you need. Purchase a firmer mattress to help support your body while you sleep.
Use the correct pillow based on the way you sleep. Your pillow is just as important as your mattress when it comes to supporting your neck and back. Your pillow should keep your spine aligned properly when you lie on your side or your back.
Stretch before going to bed. Before you head to bed do a few simple stretches to help work out the tension that has built up during the day. A few simple yoga poses, such as the cat stretch and stretch will loosen up the muscles in your back and abdominal region.
Becoming more aware of your posture at home, work or at play will help improve your posture. You must remain conscious of how you are sitting or standing to help correct poor posture and relieve your back, neck, hip and ankle pain.
Functional Chiropractic Care
If you need help with your posture, injury avoidance, or ergonomic modification, a visit to your chiropractor, especially those focusing on functional chiropractic care may help. Functional chiropractic care involves looking at your overall body including the digestive, nervous, and musculoskeletal system. With this treatment, adjustments are determined by your unique medical history.
Savoie, Keely. “Straighten up! Slouching makes you sad, study shows”. NBC News, November 4, 2012. Web. October 2016
Andrews, Kelly, DC. “Ten Tips for Improving Posture and Ergonomics”. Spine Health, June 7, 2004. Web. October 2016
Lootens, Trent. “Superior Posterior Workout: Posterior Chain Training”. Body Building, June 20, 2013. Web. October 2016