Did you know that stress, headaches, and backaches can be caused by a slouching posture? In our modern society, sitting is one of the most frequent activities that we do. Much of our work causes us to bend or look forward, therefore bringing us into a slouching, curved posture rather than a preferred upright, spinal alignment – which in turn can cause pain and other symptoms.
If slouching causes pain, why do we do it and what does it do to us?
First of all, our head pushes forward and sticks out of our neck. This then pulls the upper back and shoulders forward to form a hump in our back. Our arms are forward, the upper back curves, and we begin to look like the letter “C”. Women who are over age forty have increased risk because their bones have decreased in density thus, osteoporosis may begin and hunch the back. Slouching also affects the lower back, because it is all connected. Often the low back is rounded, creating low back discomfort and aches. Our muscles in the front adapt to the rounded position and get shorter, while the muscles on the back side of our bodies get overstretched and weaker.
Proper alignment and posture is a great defender against the strong frontal muscles’ pull upon the weak back muscles that perpetuate the “C” curve.
How do you fix it poor posture?
By taking just a few minutes throughout the day to perform a self check and correction you can make a difference in how you feel. It can help decrease tension on head, neck, and shoulder muscles that can lead to stress and headaches. It allows you to get more oxygen, which counteracts fatigue. Improving your posture is a simple thing to help you feel better.
Here is a simple, 5- step posture check:
- Get a cue. Pick out a visual cue that will help you remember to check, like a watch or a ring that you see all the time.
- Bring your head back over your shoulders.
- Bring your shoulders back in line with your trunk
- Sit up in your chair at a 90-degree angle with an inward curve of your lower back about the size of your fist.
- Once you get that position…hold it a little while. You’re changing an old habit for a new one. So check it frequently and it should get easier and feel better.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of poor posture, discuss them with your physician to determine if physical therapy is appropriate for you.