Ask yourself – how is your posture? Chances are that you are reading this on your computer and are slouching down in your chair or are leaning forward with slumped shoulders. Neither are examples of good posture.
Because our glutes, lower back muscles, and hamstrings are relatively weak, our bodies tend to slip into these bad positions. The reason behind it is that it takes us ‘effort’ to stay upright. Those three main muscles comprise the ”posterior chain.” This is the largest single physical component that affects posture. If you have a healthier, stronger posterior chain, chances are that you have a better posture.
What is good posture?
Before you can hope to understand the importance of good posture, it is important to know what good posture is. This means knowing a bit more about the anatomy of our spine. Despite what most people assume, the spine is not straight from top to bottom. In fact, there are four curves in our spine. These include:
- The lumbar curve –the lower back curving forwards
- The thoracic curve –the upper back curving backwards
- The cervical curve –The neck curving forwards
- The sacral curve –The back of the pelvis curving backwards
These curves are so aligned in order to keep the spine flexible, strong, and supple to carry out various functions and motions. If you have bad postural habits and continually put the spine under constant strain, it leads to a number of different problems, including fatigue, headaches, and muscle pulls. Good posture is going to increase your overall fitness, keep your muscles supple, and help you carry out your day-to-day activities without tiring your back.
The significance of good posture
Posture refers to the body’s positioning and alignment in relates to gravity. Whether we are lying down, sitting, or standing, gravity has force on our muscles, ligaments, and our joints. Good posture means that we distribute the force of gravity throughout our bodies. This means that there is no one part of our anatomy that is overstressed.
Just as placing a poor foundation in a house or building would be detrimental years down the road, constantly poor posture means that we are less resistant to the stresses and strains that we experience throughout the years of our lives.
Walking, standing, and even sitting down with the proper postural alignment allows us to place less strain on the body’s muscles, tendons and ligaments while at the same time allow us to work more efficiently with less fatigue.
Walking, standing, and sitting with less strain on the spine helps us feel better. This means that we are better at performing everyday movements such as squatting down, bending over, and reaching.
How can your posture be improved?
We can improve the posture by strengthening, and paying more attention to, the posterior chain. This could mean doing specific exercises that strengthen the large muscle groups. These would include the lower back, hamstrings, and glutes.
- Proper sitting posture –Make sure that your feet are firmly planted on the floor, the hips and knees bent at 90 degrees. Roll the shoulders back and then down. The shoulder blades have to move down your back. Grip your pubic bone and tilt your pelvis forward to check your pelvis alignment. The ears must be in-line with the shoulders, which in turn are in-line with the hips.
- Correct standing posture –Your ankles, hips, shoulders, and ears should all be in a vertical line when standing. Toes pointed forward while your feet are hip-width apart with your toes. The shoulders are pulled back and then down and the spine should be erect. Knees must be straight. Raising your chin up will oftentimes help resolve standing postural issues.
- Healthy lying posture –While this is mostly dependent on what is comfortable to you, it is highly recommended that you avoid sleeping on your stomach and use a pillow to ensure that your cervical spine is kept in a neutral position. If you sleep on your side, keeping a pillow between your legs would help you keep your spine aligned properly.
What are the risks of bad posture?
There are a number of different risks associated with bad posture, including several health issues. A selection of these include:
- Bad posture can contribute to wear and tear of the joints. This is especially true for weight bearing joints, this can lead to the faster development of chronic conditions such as knee or ankle joint osteoarthritis.
- Bad posture may be responsible for increased stress, breathing difficulties, and headaches. Bad upper body posture is often responsible for tension headache.
- Bad posture can lead to the discs between the vertebras to slip out of their original place. This causes neck pain and back pain.
- Bad posture prevents blood circulation to some areas of the body. It also puts a strain on ligaments and muscles. This can lead to the constriction of blood vessels and nerves.
Never too late to make a change
Having good posture is obviously extremely important to our overall health. Just because you have been relying on poor posture until now does not mean that you could not benefit from making adjustments. Make an appointment and have our specialists not only observe your posture, but also give you specific tips on how to improve it.
If you already suffer from pain and discomfort because of poor posture, our specialists are able to offer relief. Whether you have existing issues or believe that you are developing problems with poor posture, make an appointment with Total Back Care today. Call 8357 8211 right now to find out how you could benefit from good posture.