Want the secret of the easiest way to decrease your risk of neck pain, headaches and low back pain?
Improve your posture! Especially your sitting posture.
It’s been well documented in research for years and years that sitting with a less than ideal posture loads your discs between your vertebrae considerably. In fact sitting in a slouched position puts almost twice the pressure on your lumbar disks than standing! Now imagine how much increased load and pressure is accumulated over a period of months or even years of poor posture…. no wonder low back pain is so common!
Now there are of course other predisposing factors to all sorts of low back pain but posture is among the most important.
Poor posture can cause:
Cervicogenic headaches – poor neck alignment is the leading cause of headaches due to the strain put on the muscles of the upper neck.
Low back pain – well documented in research.
Shoulder and mid back pain – sure to load muscles and joints so others have to work harder and are under more stress.
Impaired sports and exercise performance – tight and weak muscles are no good for optimal performance.
Gut issues – poor posture can lead to digestive challenges by slightly compressing your organs, slowing down your digestive process and adversely impacting your metabolism.
Poor sleep – not ideal posture can negatively impact your sleep. When the muscular system is stressed, we have a hard time fully relaxing.
Worse mood & motivation – research has shown that bad posture correlates with bad mood and motivation. A better posture will mean your are more productive.
Slower exercise recovery – Poor posture can overwork certain muscles which will lead to more fatigue and pain during and after a workout.
Reasons for poor posture:
Habit – lack of awareness
Tight muscles that decrease range of motion and encourage your joints to sit in poor positions.
Muscle weakness – long term poor posture results in weakness of muscles that should easily be able to hold you in a good alignment all day. In fact often when people start to really work on their posture they feel their back muscles get sore and tired from the effort. But don’t worry, they will strengthen and adapt – as they are meant to!
How do you correct it?
- See your Physio for a posture and biomechanics assessment
- Have better awareness of your postures in all of your activities through the day
- Strengthen your postural muscles and core
- Loosen the muscles and joints that have too much stress through them.
- chin in – not tilted down or poking forward
- shoulders back and down
- neutral spine (don’t arch to overemphasize the curve in your lower back)
- arms at your sides with elbows straight and even
- hips and pelvis even
- knees even, not locked and pointing straight ahead
- body weight distributed evenly on both feet.