Paying attention to posture can help you look and feel better.
10 minutes for a better posture video
Most of us get back pain at some point in our lives. It may be due to a sports-related injury, an accident, or a congenital condition such as scoliosis. But most of the time, upper or lower back pain develops during the course of day-to-day life. Repetitive activities at work or home, such as sitting at a computer or lifting and carrying, may produce tension and muscle tightness that result in a backache. Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do to prevent this sort of problem. General physical fitness and a healthy weight are important. But one surprisingly simple strategy can go a long way: Paying attention to your posture.
Good posture not only protects you against back pain but also improves your overall health and appearance. Poor posture, on the other hand, promotes back pain and can affect the position and function of your abdominal organs, inhibit breathing and oxygen intake, and cause headaches. It may also affect mood.
The basics of posture
Posture is the way you hold your body while standing, sitting, or performing tasks like lifting, bending, pulling, or reaching. If your posture is good, the bones of the spine — the vertebrae — are correctly aligned.
Good posture means keeping the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar curves in balance and aligned, with weight distributed evenly over the feet. Seen from the side, your ear, shoulder top, hip, knee, and ankle should line up vertically when you’re standing.
The back has three natural curves: a slight forward curve in the neck (cervical curve), a slight backward curve in the upper back (thoracic curve), and a slight forward curve in the low back (lumbar curve). When these curves are in proper alignment, the spine, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles are in balance, and body weight is evenly distributed. The payoff is less stress and strain on muscles, joints, and ligaments, and a reduced risk for back, neck, and shoulder pain. Some of the classic signs of poor posture are a potbelly, rounded shoulders, and a jutted-out neck and chin (known as a forward head position).
Assess your posture
Start by standing with your back to the wall and your heels about three inches from the wall. Place one hand flat against the back of your neck, with the back of the hand against the wall. Place your other hand against your lower back, palm facing the wall. If you can easily move your hands forward and backward more than an inch or two, you may need to adjust your posture to restore the spine’s normal curves.
Now stand in front of a full-length mirror. Hold your head straight with your ears level. Are your shoulders even? Are the spaces between your arms and sides equal? Are your hips level? Both kneecaps should point straight ahead, and your knees should be relaxed. (Locking the knees can hyperextend and injure them, causing low back pain.) Your ankles should also be straight; if they roll in, your weight will fall on the inside of your feet, causing foot and ankle pain and poor alignment that can affect the knees, hips, and back.
For a more thorough evaluation contact our office. Contact Us!