Let’s talk POSTURE!
From a very young age, we are reminded of the importance of good posture. Patients often talk about how their parents, grandparents, teachers, etc always told them to “sit up straight” or “stop slouching”. When we think about how many hours a day we spend looking at screens with our heads tilted forward and/or our back rounded over, it would make sense why people who care about us would give us this advice. We may be watching TV, reading a book, or doing the dishes and notice that our posture isn’t the best. We are reminded of our “bad posture” by our own bodies alerting us of the discomfort it’s feeling.
What is Posture?
Posture involves a sustained position of the body for prolonged periods of time. This position may be held while standing, sitting or lying down. Being in sustained positions is not harmful. However, the accumulation of sustained positions over an extended period of time may inevitably cause discomfort in some individuals. Especially those who have preexisting musculoskeletal pain.
What causes poor posture?
Poor posture can be due to a number of reasons such as obesity, pregnancy, stress, and muscle fatigue. Contrary to popular belief, poor posture is not caused by a weakness in core strength. Dr. Yoav Suprun, faculty with the Mckenzie Institute USA, debunks this common myth. He states that core strength does not hold someone in an upright position. In other words, the muscle development around the abdomen and low back will not help you achieve perfect posture. Instead, Dr. Suprun proposes that we learn how to sit, stand, lie down properly to avoid mechanical stresses especially when this stress is contributing to neck and low back pain that radiates down the arm or leg.
How can posture affect you?
Long term poor posture can lead to various health problems that can contribute to conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, neck pain, thoracic outlet syndrome, breathing problems, and more. It is important to address postural stresses for the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal pain.
Good posture can:
- Decrease stress on the joints that support the spine
- Maintain correct alignment of bones and joints
- Reduce stress on ligaments, minimizing the risk of injury
- Prevent muscle strain, overuse, and pain
How can we maintain the correct posture?
The first step is body awareness! It is important to pay attention to your posture as you sit, stand or lie down. Keeping your spine in a neutral position can help decrease the discomfort of postural stress. Using back support when sitting and bringing screens to eye level can drastically reduce discomfort in the low back and neck. Taking short breaks to stand, walk, or stretch when sitting for prolonged periods of time can also help decrease pain. Slouch – Over Correct is a simple exercise to perform to help train your body to recognize proper posture. Sit slumped in your chair and round your back, then slowly raise up and over-arch your lower back. Do this about 10 times every few hours to improve seated posture and decrease back pain.
It is also important to monitor our posture during sleep. Be sure to find an ergonomically friendly pillow and mattress to support your sleeping postures at night. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to posture. Be sure to find the pillow, mattress, back support, exercise, and/or stretching routine that works for YOU.
If you are experiencing numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in your arm, hand, leg, and/or foot in certain postural positions, it is possible that you may be experiencing Sciatica or Carpal Tunnel like symptoms. With this particular presentation, it is important that you receive a proper movement assessment by your healthcare practitioner. Night pain that is constant and is unchanged by position may be a more serious health presentation and it important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
How can Chiropractic Care help?
Your chiropractor can help you to maintain and correct your posture through chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue therapies, exercises and recommendations on proper positions during different activities. At Miami Spine + Performance we take a thorough look at your body’s biomechanics to address the root cause of your postural imbalances as well as teach you strategies to stay pain-free. It is our mission to build resiliency in your body and equip you with the tools necessary to prevent future episodes.
If you or someone you know is currently dealing with a postural pain and looking for permanent relief, we are here to help! Please click the link below to book an appointment.