It can be difficult to change daily habits. Poor posture, unfortunately, is included in those daily habits. Just think about the hours spent staring at a computer screen, hunched over desks or bent over staring at our phones. This creates major stress on the neck, back and hips, especially if you slouch, tilt forward, look down for long periods of time or cross your legs when sitting.
Poor posture can negatively affect your body and you may experience things like daily or recurrent aches and pains. The most common symptom of poor posture is low back pain. The back muscles are constantly contracting to keep you upright and when you slouch or hunch, the muscles overcompensate- causing pain. Constant poor posture can create wear and tear on the lower back which can increase the chance of arthritis.
Posture during sitting and walking is important. The way you walk can effect your posture because your center of gravity changes with poor posture. This can actually cause you to lose your balance more often- not enough to fall but enough to cause pain when walking or running. Thus begins the hamster wheel cycle of overcompensation and pain.
To overcome these bad habits or posture follow these simple tips-
1. Set up your space- If you sit for long periods of time, be sure you have the proper setup. Check the height of your desk and chair so that you aren't slouching or leaning forward. Create a right angle with your arm/elbow- if your desk is too high your shoulders will bunch up. Your chair should have lumbar support to keep your back straight. While the plush Executive chairs look nice, most don't support you the way you need. If your chair doesn't have lumbar support, try stuffing a lumbar pillow between your low back and the chair to keep your back straight and not slouch. Ideally, try and use a sit/stand desk. This allows you to take standing breaks or vice versa sitting breaks as needed. If you can't get a full sit/stand desk then try using an accessory to create a sit/stand computer area. Check out our recommendations on Amazon.
2. Exercise- It seems almost all health advise has exercise part of it and it's true! Movement is key to keeping your muscles strong, healthy and mobile. If your job creates long hours of inactivity it's even more important for you to get moving. When you exercise you are stretching and strengthening muscles, including problem areas which need extra support like your neck and back. Taking the time to lift weights, go on a walk or jog, or simply finding something you love to do that gets you moving will highly improve your core muscles. Keep this up and you will notice positive changes not only with your aches and pains but your overall health.
3. Recognize Poor Posture- It's important to catch yourself when you begin to have poor posture. Don't let yourself slump, hunch, look down at your phone. When you sit, make sure your posture is tall and long. If your at a desk, sit upright, place your feet flat on the floor (don't cross your legs). Make sure there is a small gap between the back of your knees and the chair. Keep your shoulders back and your chin tucked in- this prevents the chin jutting out towards your computer screen which naturally slides you into poor posture.
4. Stretch- Along with exercise, it's important to stretch those muscles. When you stretch you loosen your muscles and joints and initiate strong blood flow. Take time to stretch and not sit for long periods of time.
If you have questions or need help with your aches and pains- talk with one of our Vancouver Chiropractor about how we can help. www.bodyinbalancechiro.com Or call or text our office at 360-718-2346.