May is correct your posture month! Throughout May, we encourage our patients to be conscious of their posture! Though you may have heard it a hundred times growing up–good posture is important. Over time poor posture can increase your risk of pain, discomfort, and the likelihood of experiencing joint issues, lowering your quality of life. Below are some tips you can use to start improving your posture.
The Importance of Posture
Good posture is the position in which your body is held straight against gravity and helps your body to stand, walk, sit, and rest in a position that places the least amount of strain on the supporting muscles and ligaments. Strong postural muscles help to keep your bones and joints in alignment, decreasing the risk of abnormal wear on joint surfaces while also reducing stress on soft tissues and muscles to minimize the risk of injury, fatigue, and strain.
Having poor posture throughout your everyday activities and movements can place strain and stress on your body’s joints and muscles pulling them out of alignment. Over time this can lead to imbalance, soreness, and misalignment making the body prone to injury and pain. Common examples of poor posture include hunching while using electronic devices. This can cause the chest to tighten and strain the shoulders and upper back. Leaning forward towards devices can also put pressure on your neck as it pulls your head closer to the device.
Poor posture is not always the result of laziness or not knowing how to stand or sit properly. There are a variety of factors that can cause poor posture including:
- Improper footwear
- Stiff or tight muscles
How Chiropractic Care Can Help
If poor posture is caused by misalignments in joints or the spine, we can help to correct your postural issues such as slouching, hunched back, abnormal curvatures in the spine, an unlevel pelvis or hip, and forward head posture.
When you arrive at our office, your chiropractor will conduct a thorough assessment of your body to check for any restrictions, misalignments, or dysfunctions in your spine and joints. If any are found, we will make the necessary adjustments to restore mobility, range of motion, and remove any possible interference in nerve communication caused by your misalignments.
Your chiropractor will also check for any postural imbalances that may be impacting your body’s ability to function optimally such as a tilted pelvis that affects your gait. Once these restrictions are corrected, you can begin working on improving and maintaining proper posture through regular adjustments and various exercises. We can also offer advice on how to better your posture during your daily activities or recommend stretches or exercises to strengthen your core postural muscles.
Can I Improve My Posture at Home?
Yes! There are steps you can take at home to help improve your posture such as being aware of how you hold your body during your daily activities such as sitting, standing, sleeping, and even exercising.
Regularly stretching and strengthening your postural muscles will help to improve your flexibility, core strength, and posture. You can also correct poor posture habits, but this will take time and effort before the new ways become a habit. Below are some ways you can improve your posture during daily activities:
- While sitting:
- Adjust the backrest to support your lower or mid-back or use a back support or pillow to avoid strain or discomfort
- If you are sitting for long periods, avoiding staying in the same position and remember to take breaks
- Keep your feet level on the floor or a footrest and remember to leave a small gap between your knees and the front of your chair
- While standing:
- Bear your weight on the balls of your feet and if you are on your feet for long periods remember to shift your weight often
- Relax your shoulders and let your arms hang naturally at your sides
- Remember to stand with your knees slightly bent and with your legs shoulder-width apart
- While lying down:
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach
- Make sure your mattress firmness and pillow are ideal for keeping your neck and spine aligned
- Side-sleepers should place support between their legs to avoid discomfort while back sleepers need to support underneath their knees
Once your posture is adjusted and corrected, it is important to maintain it by being aware of how you hold your body throughout the day. We are here to help on your journey to living a healthy life and this includes your posture. For more information on how to improve your posture or to schedule a consultation today, contact The Center for Spine, Sport, & Physical Medicine.