Is bad posture hindering your daily routine? Is it robbing you of your self-confidence? Have you been continually pondering on how to undo the damage already caused due to incorrect posture?
Do you often suffer from unexplained back pains or headaches? Are there times when you feel tired and don’t know why? What if we told you that the reason could be your posture?
You may not even be aware of your bad posture. Bad posture develops over time and then becomes a part of our habits. Many of us who sit continuously for a long time and stare at a monitor start feeling the strain in their shoulders and neck muscles. People who need to bend a lot like a mom who has to keep picking up their child are more susceptible. Every time you slouch on the chair or walk with a heavy bag on one shoulder can put your spine out of balance which could lead to bad posture.
Chiropractors and physiotherapists around the world are now speaking about this universal problem. Many people come to them for solutions without realizing that the problem is in the way they stand, walk, or, sit. Bad posture can lead to several issues and can have a significant impact on overall health. If you don’t believe us, just read on and see how your health and life can be severely affected by something which you consider insignificant.
Well, we have all the answers to your most challenging questions on bad posture. Let’s get started on this informative tour on how best you can correct your stooping posture. Of course, it’s no easy task unless you are determined and have a good amount of patience, dedication, and awareness.
Effects of Bad Posture
- Back pain
This is the most common ailment, and most people have suffered back pain at some time or the other. Chiropractors say that poor posture is the leading cause of back and neck pain. Poor alignment of the spine can put extra strain on the muscles. It can even lead to anatomical changes and cause the discs to move. The stress from bad posture can affect your back, neck, shoulders, and, many other parts. However, back pain is most common, and it can make it worse by sitting, standing, and walking with a bad posture.
In the ‘Journal of Physical Therapy Science,’ there is a case of a 32-year-old male who suffered from intense headaches for years. He underwent surgery, took medicines and steroid injections, and, tried many things with no relief. Finally, physiotherapists worked on his posture and alignment for 3 months. The patient reported dramatic improvement. Posture related pain and disability is generally not addressed by allopathic or modern medicine.
- Poor Sleep
This is a vicious circle. Bad posture will lead to tightening and fatigue of muscles. You will find it difficult to sleep comfortably at night. This will make your muscles and body more tired and so on. Poor sleep can lead to many health problems, even fatal ones like heart and brain disease. Headaches seem like a serious problem, but if you ignore them for a long time, can develop into something serious.
- Mental Problems
Your moods or mental problems seem very far away from how you sit or stand. A study from the journal ‘Health Psychology’ found that the people who sit with a slouch or have a slumped posture exhibit more negative attitudes and moods and display less self-esteem.
- Constipation and Incontinence
This may come as a surprise to you, but it is true. Meghan Markowski, a physical therapist at a Harvard affiliated hospital, says that slouching puts pressure on the bladder. She also says that poor posture on the toilet can promote constipation. These problems may not seem too dangerous, but ask anyone who suffers. They won’t mind making some minor corrections if they can get relief.
- Joint Degeneration
The wrong posture adds to the stress which all joints have to undergo in our routine lives. Flexibility reduces and can lead to arthritis or other joint problems. Once the pain starts in joints, you will find that without any intention, you will start favoring one limb over the other. This can cause a severe imbalance in your body, and your spine will also have to adapt to this change. Soon, you will feel find that your movements are sluggish and not so smooth.
What Can You Do?
When you find yourself wondering about unexplained pains and tiredness in your body, an easy thing to do would be to look at your posture. Assess your standing, sitting, and, walking posture on your own or take the help of people around you. You can then go to a professional and get his advice. You should understand that it takes time to correct any posture, especially if you have been sitting or walking in a particular way for a long time. You can check your posture and assess how good or bad it is.
What is Bad posture?
Incorrect posture is when your body frame is not in a straight line, starting from your ear to your shoulder to your hip when you are in a standing position. Look out for rounded shoulders, head titled forward, slouching, bent knees as the common signs of not having the right posture.
Most people are ignorant of their incorrect posture until it starts showing some visible signs such as chronic back and neck pain, muscle stiffness, potbelly, etc. So, what constitutes a bad posture?
Awareness – The Key Factor
Even before we explore the options to get your body into the right posture, it is a good idea to understand why we developed bad posture. It is mostly attributed to our sedentary lifestyle.
Having said that, it can also be due to a variety of other reasons such as hereditary reasons, height, lack of exercise, occupational reasons such as standing for long hours and exercising in the wrong way. Identify what is leading to this undesirable body frame is an essential factor that helps you find the right ways to correct it.
Health Concerns Associated With Bad Posture
While poor posture is known to be the main culprit behind your back and neck pain, some grave health concerns are caused by improper posture.
Headaches – The headaches characterized by pain starting from the neck and radiating upwards till your head can be caused by poor posture. This is called cervicogenic headaches. Experts believe that there can be many reasons for this type of headache; the main reason being the source of the pain, which is the neck. This is usually caused by forward head posture mostly found in people who spend a lot of time using computers.
Ortho Experts believe that altering our posture might help in coping with these headaches. Workaround setting up your computers at the right distance. Keep it at about 18 inches in front of your eye level. This will help in reducing the strain on your neck muscles and thereby reduce the pain. This will help correct the stooping posture naturally.
Low Self Esteem –Poor posture can make your look low on confidence and self-esteem. This can impact your mental health negatively as it will change the way we feel about ourselves.
Firm posture will show off your confidence and will improve your personality. So, what you need to do is relax, loosen your muscles, straighten your body frame. This will exude your inner strength. A little care will go a long way and avoid unnecessary stress and expense.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome – Numbness and mild tingling sensation are some of the symptoms of this syndrome, which is caused due to improper circulation of blood. The nerves that carry blood to these areas can be restricted due to the forward head posture and slouching.
While this disorder is often seen in athletes, it can also be caused due to improper posture.
Reduce the stress on the areas such as neck and back by following posture correction exercises. A visit to the ortho specialist might help in ascertaining the real cause of the disorder.
These are some common and nagging problems one can attribute to poor posture. You might also experience bad moods, digestive problems that might lead to constipation, fatigue, Pelvic pain, and other aches related to improper coordination between the muscles and bones. Let’s find out how we can get into the right posture by following simple exercises.
3 Simple Exercises To Help Improve Your Posture
- Wall Angels – This is one simple exercise that will help you in two ways. Firstly, it will help you identify your posture and also help in correcting it if practiced regularly.
• Lean against the wall and lift your arms up and down.
• Make your back is flat against the wall, and also your rear should be touching the wall.
This is an easy to do exercise which can be done with minimal effort and will help in flexing your shoulder and back muscles to provide relief from the pain associated with poor posture.
2. Plank – Fitness enthusiasts love this work out for the many health benefits it offers.
- Lie down on our stomach and lift your back by balancing the weight on your elbows and feet.
- Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders; your wrist should also be in a straight line to your elbows. Face the floor when you are in this position
- Contract your abdominal muscles while lifting your back. Remember to breathe normally. Hold onto to the posture for about 20-30 seconds as a beginner. Once you have got it right, you can do it for about 50 seconds.
This exercise has many more benefits than just correcting your posture. It will help with a potbelly, which is also another drawback of bad posture. It will strengthen your core muscles. Practice it regularly to improve your posture and body shape.
3. Bridge – This is also an easy to do exercise that will work on strengthening back, buttocks, and abdomen.
• Lie flat on your back with legs apart from each other at shoulder-width.
• Bend your knees and bring the heels close to your butt.
• Keep your hands by the side with palm on the floor.
• Lift your buttocks and lower back from the floor.
• Your knees, hip, and shoulder should be aligned in a diagonal line.
• Hold one for a few seconds, and gently lower your hips to the floor.
• Repeat this for 8 to 10 times.
This will help in strengthening your abdominal muscles and will also relieve you from chronic backache.
These exercises will help you get into the right posture if practiced religiously. Also, remind yourself to stop those incorrect ways of sitting and standing to get the best results from work out routines.