Correcting posture is easier than you think!
According to the Arthritis Disease Center, poor posture is a major contributor to chronic neck and back pain. Good posture is the correct alignment of body parts supported by the right amount of muscle tension.
Some posture information from the American Chiropractic Academy:
Normally, we do not consciously maintain normal posture. Instead, certain muscles do it for us, and we don’t even have to think about it. Several muscle groups, including the hamstrings and large back muscles, are critically important in maintaining good posture. While the ligaments help to hold the skeleton together, these postural muscles, when functioning properly, prevent the forces of gravity from pushing us over forward. Postural muscles also maintain our posture and balance during movement.
The good news seems to be that some proper posture just comes naturally, however, even if our bodies are supporting the most important parts of us without us having to think about it, there are still other parts that need our attention. Without proper alignment, our normal activities of standing, walking, sitting and laying down can present with muscle and ligament strain and even herniated discs, and increased back and neck pain as a result.
- Helps us prevent muscle strain and resulting pain
- Reduces stress on the ligaments that hold the spinal joints together
- Keeps us in correct alignment so joints are not worn down as quickly, muscles are used correctly, and joint pain and degenerative arthritis can be kept at bay
- Allows muscles to work more efficiently which helps to prevent muscle fatigue
At this point, the way you carry yourself in all daily activities is second nature. You are going about your day, likely without a thought to how you are moving about and standing. Correcting your posture wrongs starts with simply becoming more mindful of your posture and adjusting accordingly when you find yourself straying. It may take a while for your body to incorporate this new way of being, but eventually, changes will take hold and your spine will thank you.
Here is how it is done in the most common scenarios:
When sitting, remember to keep your back and shoulders straight. In an ideal scenario, your knees would be bent at a right angle and feet flat on the floor. If you work in an office, try not to slouch or slump down in your desk chair. Also be sure that you are not rounding your shoulders and bending forward to get a closer look at your computer screen. Now may be the time to set up your work station ergonomically with your computer screen at eye level and office supplies at a short reaching distance. Also be sure to get up and move around once every hour.
When standing, your body weight should be evenly distributed between both legs, allowing the balls of your feet to bear the weight of your body. Keep your knees slightly bent, stand straight and tell with your shoulders pulled back, and let your arms hang naturally down the sides of your body. It may help practice your standing posture in a full length mirror so you can properly access yourself.
Just like with any position you may find yourself in, it’s important to change positions. If you have been standing for an extended period of time, take a seat so your body can rest a little bit.
Did you know that the best sleep position for posture is on your side with slightly bent knees? If this is your go-to sleep position, you are one step ahead as this position allows your spine to release any tension it has been holding onto.
Also try to make do with only one pillow. Too many pillows (or too high of a pillow) can hyperextend your neck and keep it misaligned from your spine. You want your head properly supported while also keeping important alignment in place. Without it, you may experience a stiff neck when you wake up and future issues.
Every body is unique and each pillow is not one-size-fits-all. Shop around for a pillow that has the thickness that will work for your body. If you’re a side sleeper, place a pillow between your legs. If you sleep on your back, keep a pillow under your knees.
Remember that as time goes on, our joints adapt. It is naturally going to take longer to adjust posture mistakes that have been around for a longer time, but it’s important to not get discouraged. Keep working on it and you will be a step closer to a better and healthier body.
A more perfect posture can be achieved, particularly if you practice it. At Reza Chiropractic, our goal is to align your head, neck and spine to get you on the road to pain-free wellness and to give you the head start you may need to jumpstart correcting your posture for the future you.
Dr. Reza can also assist by recommending exercises to strengthen core muscles and assisting in correct posture formation. Contact us today at (406) 920-1807 to schedule an appointment for an assessment and adjustment.