At some point, you’ve probably been told to “stand up straight” or “stop slouching.” You may think this advice is about how you look, but posture is about so much more. Good posture is critical to balance, helping you avoid injuries and pain during activity, and can even strengthen your abilities in a number of areas. Something as simple as standing up from a chair or climbing stairs can be impacted by your posture. Because bad habits can be hard to break, you might want to look for a chiropractor near you in Atlanta to help you align your spine and begin improving your posture. If you want to understand more about how good posture encourages good health, read on.
What Is “Good” Posture?
When you picture good posture, it may be mostly about standing up straight with your shoulders back. This is certainly one element of the proper posture to keep your spine strong and steady. But with working from home on the rise, posture while sitting is just as important.
There are simple things you can check for to assess your own posture, starting with the head and working your way down. Ensure that your chin is parallel to the floor—If you’re at a computer, keeping the monitor at eye level can help with this. Not only should your shoulders be rolled back, but they should be even with one another.
Good posture means you have a neutral spine, with no flexing or arching that emphasizes the curve in your lower back. Arms should be at your side with your elbows straight and even when standing, or placed evenly when sitting. Brace your abdominal muscles.
No matter if you are sitting or standing, your hips should be even with knees pointed straight ahead. Make sure your body weight is distributed evenly between feet or legs.
Causes of Poor Posture
In many cases, poor posture is simply a consequence of bad habits like hunching over a computer or sitting lazily on the couch. However, structural health issues can also cause poor posture. More often, there is a feedback loop, in which poor habits cause structural issues which make it more difficult to sit properly, allowing the issue to worsen over time. When you visit a chiropractor near you in Atlanta, they will seek to reverse any damage they can with chiropractic care.
The use of technology is a daily habit that contributes heavily to poor posture. Sitting at a computer, using a cell phone, or watching TV can all lead to something called “tech neck” in which the neck is bent forward for too long, causing neck pain. Other daily choices like wearing high heels can negatively impact posture. When this happens, the body tries to compensate for any misalignments and becomes over-reliant on the wrong muscles, which can cause permanent issues. Injuries and prolonged muscle spasms are also common catalysts for prolonged issues with posture as the body tries to compensate for misalignments.
How Posture Impacts Your Health
A number of conditions can arise as a result of poor posture, as the longer the body has to compensate, the more permanent changes can occur. Below are just some of the potential issues that may be rooted in posture.
Headaches: Poor posture can strain the muscles in the back of the head, neck, upper back, and jaw, which puts pressure on nearby nerves. This can trigger a specific type of headaches known as tension headaches, resulting from muscle spasms.
Jaw Pain: A consistently forward head posture can strain the muscles under your chin, leading to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) becoming strained. This can cause pain, fatigue, and popping in the jaw, and difficulty opening the mouth along with headaches and neck pain.
Breathing Problems: Slouching for long periods of your life can restrict the rib cage and compress the diaphragm. This reduces lung capacity and can cause shallow or labored breathing, which can also result in fatigue and a lack of energy. You may notice overall decreases in productivity or physical ability.
You can take care to improve your posture by paying attention to the way you are sitting or standing during the day. You may even set a time to remind yourself to check your body for posture. But if you’ve had bad habits for some time, you will likely need to find a chiropractor near you in Atlanta to help you revert your habits. When the spine is misaligned, the body compensates with poor posture. By visiting AICA Orthopedics, a doctor will be able to help return the spine to proper alignment, giving you a clean slate to work with as you develop new and healthy habits.