Back to Basics: Check Your Posture
At some point in our lives, we probably stopped hearing those warnings and stopped paying attention to our posture. After all, there were so many other important things to think about, right?
Now that you’re an adult with your own health concerns, you most likely focus your attention on what you’re eating and how you’re exercising. We tend to get so caught up with the latest trends and studies that we forget about basic self-care concepts like not sitting for too long, eating enough fruits and vegetables, and having good posture.
Good Posture and Health
When was the last time you considered your posture as an important aspect of your health? Take a second and think about it as you read this article. Are you slouched over your desk or are you hunched over a smartphone screen, creating a “text neck” problem? All too often a position that initially feels comfortable can make us feel worse than we did to begin with.
Having better posture will help you feel better emotionally and physically. It’s possible that the back pain you’re dealing with stems from poor posture. Complaints ranging from lower back pain and neck pain to headaches, TMJ disorder, and plantar fasciitis all have been associated with poor posture.
In fact, discomfort and pain are the tell-tale signs of poor posture. When you place added stress on your body, you aren’t comfortable, and when you’re in pain, you adapt your posture to accommodate the pain, which may cause anatomical changes and ultimately puts more stress on your spine. Over time, you may even develop digestive and cardiopulmonary problems from issues related to your poor posture. Poor posture creates a chain reaction throughout the body.
So What Exactly Is Good Posture?
So what does good posture look like? The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) puts it best: good posture is when all of the parts of your body are both balanced and supported. While standing you’d be able to draw a straight line all the way from your earlobes through your hips and knees. According to Dr. Mallika Marshall of CBS’s The Saturday Early Show, when you have good posture, your bones are properly aligned, which is necessary for your muscles, joints, ligaments, and internal organs to work properly.
Don’t be alarmed, though, if that line isn’t straight: It’s totally possible to correct your posture. In fact, it’s easier to fix your posture than it is to lose weight, so don’t lose hope.
How Can You Improve Your Posture?
Here are some ways to develop better posture, courtesy of the ACA:
- When sitting, keep your ankles in front of your knees and avoid crossing your legs. Also, make sure your lower or mid-back is supported (adjust the backrest of your chair or use a small cushion for support).
- Try to sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees or on your back with a pillow under your knees in order to help support your alignment.
- When walking or standing, keep your stomach tucked in and make sure your earlobes line up with your shoulders — this helps ensure that you’re not pushing your head too far forward or backward.
With time and with practice, you can gain and maintain good posture. Talk to your chiropractor — he or she can check your posture, suggest exercises, and make personalized recommendations that fit your abilities and lifestyle. During your appointment, your doctor of chiropractic can also make adjustments to help with any misalignments in your spine.
Image by: zestmarina / 123RF Stock Photo.
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