Random aches and pains are a side effect of aging. But, many of these aches and pains can be preventable. Your posture plays a large role in our overall health. Being aware of how you sit, stand and walk, think of it as a triangle of spinal health, will add to your overall well-being. Poor posture can put more stress on the spine and spinal ligaments, forcing you into unnatural, painful positions. This puts you at risk for issues down the road with both your spine and overall health.
What exactly is good posture though? Proper posture is when you keep the cervical, thoracic, and lumber curves balanced and aligned. You also want yo make sure your weight is evenly distributed over both feet. You can check if you have good posture by taking a picture of yourself while standing up straight. When upright your ear, shoulder top, hip, knee, and ankle should line up vertically. Take a moment to check how you stand (be honest!) - how do you line up?
Here are some spinal conditions that can develop as a result of poor posture:
It’s probably no surprise that changing your spine’s natural curvature will cause back pain. The spine naturally is curved in three places: neck, upper/mid back, and lower back. By consistently having poor posture distortion of these curves will occur over months/years. A very common issue occurs from sitting at a desk for many hours a day. In this position we begin to establish a forward head position with a rounded shoulder posture, also known as poor posture syndrome. As you can imagine, all of these effect the spinal curvature long term, resulting in pain and deformation.
Neck and Back Pain
One of the more common side effects of poor posture is neck and back pain. Due to our poor posture just about everyone will experience these pains in their lifetime which can start as early as our teenage years. Lifestyle activities that can attribute to this are slouching in front of video games or the television for long periods of time. Simply correcting the posture or limiting the time one stays in these positions will usually alleviate the pain. If not corrected, it can lead to loss of function and even deformity in the spine. Neck and back pain may be a sign of a deeper issue, catching and correcting it early is key to long term spinal health.
Bulging and Herniated Discs
Poor posture can cause spinal ligaments to stretch beyond a healthy limit. This can put a lot of strain on your spinal discs, resulting in disc bulges and disc herniations. This is commonly felt in the lower back, but can also happen in the neck. Just one day of being stuck behind a desk in a confined position can lead to an isolated episode of pain and soreness. If this same posture mistakes are made for long periods of time, serious spinal issues will develop. These issues can be treated with self-care, medication, steroid injections, or if serious enough, surgery may be required. Being aware of your posture is the best proactive solution to avoid this condition.
Additional health issues that could arise from poor posture are poor digestion, nerve issues, breathing issues, poor circulation, fatigue and body misalignment, just to name a few. Some quick and easy ways to help your posture and avoid health issues are:
- Sit-Stand desks
- Ergonomic chairs and office equipment
- Be active - move around and go for walks often
- Stretch 10 minutes twice a day
- Be conscious of your body’s positioning
If you are concerned that your posture is effecting you and your children's spine health, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 954.567.1332.