Here’s what bad posture actually means for your body and what you can do to fix it.
The Bad Posture Breakdown
Are you hunched over at your desk right now? Looking down at your phone, neck craned? Yep, we see you—and it’s OK. Most people don’t exactly make good postural habits a priority. But trust us, it’s definitely having an impact on your body.
Appearance benefits aside, good posture can help you maintain the correct alignment of bones and joints, reduce stress and inflammation on your ligaments, minimize risk of injury, prevent muscle strain and overuse, conserve energy and decrease wear and tear on the joints.
And that’s a big deal! Your muscles, ligaments and bones are all a part of your musculoskeletal system, and if they aren’t operating correctly, they can affect the rest of your body—most noticeably your spine. We’re talking slipped discs, misaligned vertebrae and more. These issues open you up to a whole litany of mechanical and symptomatic problems!
Bad Posture Can Lead To:
- Poor circulation
- Exacerbated arthritis
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Chronic headaches
- Breathing problems
How Can I Tell My Posture Is Off?
So… how do you know if there’s a problem with your posture? How can you even begin to tell if your poor posture has affected your health enough to develop symptoms? It’s actually really easy to spot. You just have to know how.
Consider whether or not you notice any of these symptoms in your daily life:
86 percent of Americans work a desk job, and sitting for such long periods, especially improperly, leaves many of us wide open for pain and dysfunction. Slumped or hunched shoulders are one of the most common postural problems of sedentary work. This is when your shoulders are more rounded with a tendency of your biceps turning inward.
- When you look at photos of yourself, are your shoulders more hunched and curved into the body?
- Are you suffering from frequent headaches, neck aches or shoulder tension?
- When you’re standing with your arms at your sides, are your palms facing behind you?
Forward Head Carriage
This is a big one that we see often in our offices, and in today’s tech world, it’s an easy pattern to get into. When your head is too far forward, it can put up to forty extra pounds of weight on your cervical spine, leading to pain and dysfunction. Your ears should line up directly above your shoulders.
- Are you experiencing pain or inflammation in the neck or shoulders?
- When you’re texting, driving or on the computer, do you crane your neck forward?
- Are your ears not aligned with your shoulders?
Uneven Weight Distribution
When one side of your hip is higher than the other, it can force you to put more weight on one side of the body. Uneven weight distribution can cause a structural imbalance in the body, forcing more wear and tear on the joints.
- When standing, do you tend to favor one leg over the other?
- Have you ever noticed the soles of one of your shoes more worn than the other?
- Do you ever experience pain on only one side of the body?
If you’ve said “Yes!” to any of these questions… it may be time to have a chat with your chiropractor.
How to Have Better Posture
Routine chiropractic care can not only help you correct your posture, it can also help you maintain it throughout your lifetime. Regular chiropractic adjustments and some advice from your chiropractor can make all the difference.
Here are some helpful tips from the American Chiropractic Association that may help you out:
Posture 101: Sitting
- Keep both feet on the floor, or if your chair is too high, a footrest
- Uncross your legs, and keep your ankles in front of your knees
- Keep a gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat
- Make sure your knees are at or below the level of your hips
- Adjust your chair to support your low back
- Keep your forearms parallel to the ground
- Stay active! Take a five minute walk every thirty minutes
Posture 101: Standing
- Focus your weight on the balls of your feet
- Keep your knees slightly bent
- Place your feet around a shoulder-width apart
- Let your arms hang naturally
- Keep your shoulders back
- Stand with your ears aligned with your shoulders
Posture 101: Lying Down
- Find a proper mattress
- Sleep with an ergonomic sleep posture pillow
- DO NOT sleep on your stomach
- If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs
- If you sleep on your back, keep a pillow under your knees