In our increasingly technology-driven world, many of us are accustomed to spending our lives slumped over our laptops or slouching over mobile phones for large parts of the day at work.
However, we know that remaining seated in an incorrect posture for extended hours eventually leads to issues with the body's ligaments, muscles, and joints.
How is your posture right now?
Are you slouched over your desk?
Are you twisting to see the screen?
Once your body gets used to being stuck in an improper posture for hours, the habit stays even when you’re not working on a computer or looking at your cell phone.
But we need to try and avoid posture-related issues to protect our long-term health because several medical conditions directly connect with poor posture.
So to maintain good posture, make it essential to constantly learn to stand and sit upright, no matter what you're doing – until it becomes second nature. Yes, that includes using your smartphone.
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What Causes Poor Posture?
There are numerous reasons why your body might have become accustomed to maintaining a poor posture, including:
Past Injury Or Pain Of Any Kind
When there is any kind of pain in the neck, back, or other areas of the body, the body automatically compensates by adjusting the body to a more comfortable position.
This posture, when maintained, could prove to be detrimental in the long term as it becomes habitual.
Many patients suffer from poor posture because of past injuries or continuous pain experienced in their bodies.
Lack Of Adequate Nutrition
The bones of the spinal cord and all your muscles and ligaments need the proper nutrition to remain strong and in good condition.
A lack of the correct type of nutrition, specific essential vitamins, minerals, and calcium, can leave the bones and ligaments in the back weak.
As a result, they lack flexibility, making it difficult to maintain the correct posture.
If you have a family history of back-related issues, you are likely to suffer the same condition, especially as you age.
Unfortunately, despite your best efforts to deal with the problem by constantly trying to maintain an upright posture, you might still face issues because of a genetic disposition to weakness in the back.
Although, with proper professional assistance from a trained physical therapist, we can minimize the problem very effectively.
Another lesser-known reason that many people are unaware of for having poor posture is being overweight.
Many men and women with excess body weight on the mid sections of their body tend to have back issues that can lead to poor posture.
For example, those with extra weight in the chest area might experience problems in the upper back.
Likewise, those with excess weight in the stomach region could experience lower back issues. All these situations can lead to poor posture.
Having A Sedentary Job
Working from home is the dream, right?
Well, when it comes to your posture, not really.
When you're stuck at a desk all day and you don't even have to move to commute, you tend to remain inactive for extended periods of the working day.
As a result, you're most likely to suffer from poor posture. Plus, most people who sit at a desk all day tend to keep their head and neck in a forward position while simultaneously causing their shoulders to slump.
Is that you? Doing this day in and day out for months and years leads to weak back muscles, poor posture, and aches and pains.
Unusual as it may seem, having a habit of standing or walking with an incorrect posture could also cause it to develop into something more permanent.
If you tend to keep your shoulders slouched while walking and have a habit of keeping your head facing downward, looking at the floor, you can develop an alignment issue over the long term.
This issue will negatively impact your posture. Also, placing extra weight on one side of your body (think: shopping bags). Or favoring a particular side can also lead to imbalance and poor posture.
Even lifestyle choices (outside of work) can lead to issues with your posture.
The footwear and clothes you choose to wear could indirectly impact how you carry yourself. From tight boots to extra high heels and sandals to body-hugging fashion wear, all can lead to postural issues.
Wearing extra-tight clothes or high heels several inches in height affects your center of gravity. That directly impacts the way you carry yourself and leads to poor posture.
The Benefits Of Maintaining The Correct Posture
In layman's terms, we define the word “Posture” as the body's position when walking, standing, or lying.
Having the correct posture ensures minimum stress on your spinal cord, bones, muscles, ligaments, and joints.
Slumping or slouching or any awkward posture leads to muscular tension causing joint and back pain and poor circulation.
In some cases, poor posture can also cause chronic fatigue and breathing problems.
The main benefits of adopting the proper posture:
Have Better Balance
Having the right balance between the two sides of the body decreases the risk of falling over and getting injured. It also leads to better flexibility and improved range of motion.
Less Chance Of Fatigue
Efficiently using your muscles helps to conserve energy and leads to less fatigue.
Improved Blood Circulation
If slouching isn’t compressing your organs, it leads to enhanced blood circulation through these organs and your entire body.
When you stand, walk, or move in the proper posture, it helps the lungs to expand correctly, which leads to better breathing.
Maintaining the correct posture will help remove any unnecessary stress on the ligaments, muscles, and joints that would otherwise be susceptible to damage.
Maintaining an incorrect posture leads to unnecessary stress and strain on the back and neck muscles that can become a cause of headaches/migraines.
Lower the risk of back pain: Having the correct posture prevents the build-up of stress on the vertebra and spinal disks, which are the leading causes of back pain.
What Are The Side Effects Of Having Bad Posture?
Prolonged poor posture eventually impacts the body and can result in significant pain or discomfort and even lasting damage.
Though the below side effects won't affect everyone, and it's unlikely that they will appear all at once, they are all possible risks of bad posture:
How To Improve Your Posture
There are several ways to improve your posture.
Some are beneficial to posture in everyday life, while others help when sitting down or standing up. But regardless of what you’re doing, be mindful of your posture.
For example, think about your posture while walking, cleaning, watching television, and working.
Exercise can help to improve posture, so stay active and enjoy regular exercise.
Yoga, Pilates, and tai chi are particularly beneficial for posture because they focus on body awareness, mindfulness, and breathing. They help strengthen "the core," too, which is vital for good posture.
Maintaining a healthy weight is also key to having a good posture.
Extra weight can cause problems with the abdominal muscles and spine, leading to back pain and poor posture.
High heels, too, can hinder posture, as they change the balance and cause you to walk differently. Comfortable shoes with no heels are better, as they do not put any additional stress on your muscles and ligaments.
Don't sit in the same position for too long, and regularly change things. Take short walks around the house and get up at regular intervals.
Use work surfaces that are an appropriate height when eating, cooking, sitting, and working. These will prevent slouching and overreaching.
Sitting at a computer all day at work can have a negative effect on posture, but you can do things to help.
Every so often, take a brief walk around the office, stretch your muscles, and help relieve muscle tension.
Avoid sitting cross-legged and sit with both feet on the floor. If they don't reach the floor, invest in a footrest. Ankles should be in front of your knees.
Use adequate back support and ensure the curve of your lower back is supported. A back pillow or cushion is perfect for this, or a chair with a good backrest.
Shoulders should always be relaxed, neither rolled forwards nor backward. Elbow should be kept close to the body and bent at an angle between 90 and 120 degrees.
You can also do certain things while walking to improve your posture, such as standing up straight, standing up tall, and keeping your shoulders back.
Most body weight should be on the balls of the feet, and your stomach should be pulled in. Arms should hang naturally at the side of your body, and feet should be shoulder-width apart.
Can Physical Therapy Improve My Posture?
Physical Therapy is the best way to improve your posture and prevent the issues that poor posture can create.
We teach you to walk, sit, stand, and move in the most effective way possible. We also help you stretch and strengthen muscles to iron out any problems.
You can book a FREE 1 on 1 Screen with one of our expert Physical Therapists today.
In this session we will be able to find out what is causing your pain and how we are going to improve it.
Our team look forward to welcoming you through the doors and into our clinic!