Posture is defined as the position of the body when sitting, standing or lying down. Poor posture is one of the more common reasons people present with aches and pains in their spine. Hunched or rounded shoulders, a rounded upper back, forward head tilting and a rounded lower back all lead to increased stress on the joints of the spine which can cause the bones in our spine (vertebra) to become slightly misaligned. These misalignments can lead to irritation of the nerves in the surrounding areas causing you to present with pain, discomfort and muscle tension.
Good posture is often achieved when the spine is in a neutral position where the head is directly above the shoulders, shoulders are directly above the hips and the shoulders and hips are level. Chiropractic care helps to improve posture by promoting proper motion between the joints of the spine. As proper motion is incorporated, proper alignment of the vertebrae is restored and uneven stresses are removed from the joints. With stress removed you are able to keep your head and shoulders back, back less rounded and are able to achieve a much more neutral spine.
Aside from chiropractic adjustments, there are several things that you can do throughout your day that will help to improve your posture.
- Sit correctly: We spend a large portion of our day sitting and therefore leave our spines susceptible to poor posture. When sitting, make sure that your feet are flat on the ground and that your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Your elbows should be at a 90 degree angle when working on a keyboard and your monitor should be elevated to eye level. Additionally, try to actively engage your core (muscles of your stomach) while you sit in order to reduce stress on your back.
- Stretch daily: Stretching each day helps to improve and maintain proper range of motion. It also helps to reduce muscle tension as well as helps to reduce stresses on the joints of the spine.
- Get up and move: Exercise is not only important for getting proper motion through our joints but it also helps to achieve and maintain a proper weight. Maintaining a proper weight helps to reduce stress on the joints of the spine and can reduce the body’s urge to hunch.
Proper posture is not something that comes to us subconsciously like breathing. It is something that needs requires consistent thought in order to make a difference. So, take a little time out of your day to work on this habit. If you would like to know more about this topic or have further questions set up an appointment today!