Posture and How it Affects Your Health
Posted on 23 September 2017
Posture is so much more than just sitting up straight or slouching. What many people don’t know is that it can affect the blood flow distribution in your body and the motion in your spine. This can ultimately lead to tight muscles, spinal decay (degeneration), fatigue and subluxations. Studies show that over 50% of people that live in the United States suffer from back pain and about half of them suffer from a herniated disc. Back pain is caused by prolonged bad posture.
What makes a person have bad posture?
Contrary to popular belief, bad posture is not because someone is apathetic. Bad posture is attributed due to our lazy society. Yes, you heard that right! Lazy! American culture is constantly being pushed in the direction of obesity and working long hours, both of which can play a huge role in contributing to bad posture. The American worker is working more and working out less. People slouch in their chairs, sleep in their non-supportive mattress, and are hard on themselves for not doing better.
Here are solutions to correct those bad posture habits!
First we must determine if we have bad posture, and here is how to do it!
- Stand with the back of your head against a wall.
- Make sure the back of your feet are 6 inches away from the wall.
- Make sure buttocks and upper back touch the wall.
- There should be 2 inches between your neck and the back of the wall.
- Anything more than 2 inches means you have bad posture or a hyperlordosis in your spine (big curve in your spine).
Now that we know whether you have good or bad posture, lets talk about improving your posture in the seated, standing, and sleeping positions.
The seated position. When seated the most important part is to keep your core engaged. By tightening your core you ensure your spine is straight and also working out the support muscles that allow you to stay upright. The second most important part is keeping your head upright and not flexed forward and leaning to far back. A great indicator is having your chin tucked in to your chest but not touching. Your feet must stay flat on the floor and not positionedunder your seat or crossed because that can be harmful to the alignment of your spine. Lastly, you want to make sure to have arm support on your chair.
The standing position. We will take some aspect of the seated position techniques and elaborate on it. Again, the most important part is to keep your core fully engaged. This means that your abs and back muscles should be contracted to ensure your spine is safe and supported. The second part is to make sure the shoulders are pulled back and chest out. This ensures your spine is straight and that your chest is open to allow better breathing. You always want to make sure your knees are bent and not in the locked position as that can cause wear and tear on your knees. Most importantly, never stand in the same position for prolonged periods of time. Always stay active and more around.
The sleeping position. It goes without saying that having a firm mattress is better then a super soft mattress, because it offers better support for your spine. By having proper support for your spine, your muscles wont get tired trying to keep it upright and thus reducing unwanted curves in the wrong places. A great way to make sure your spine is supported while you sleep is by putting a pillow between your legs to ensure your pelvis is leveled. When talking about sleep we have to address sleeping position. Sleeping on your back is going to be the best position for your spine and posture. The second best position is on your side with a pillow between your legs. Sleeping on your stomach is not an option as that can put a lot of stress on your neck and upper back, causing you to go further into the realm of bad posture and chronic neck and back pain.
In the long run, your posture has many factors that can influence it. By staying active, sleeping properly, and getting your chiropractic adjustments, you can prevent bad posture. By preventing bad posture, you can live a pain free and a subluxation free life.
Remember, your posture is controlled by your Lifestyle.
-Dr. AJ Lababidi