A recent science news release revealed that less than half of Americans were concerned about poor posture. While your posture may not be something you think about when it comes to improving your well-being, it can have a significant impact on how you feel on a daily basis.
There’s a reason your mom told you to stand up straight – if you’re suffering from back, neck, or shoulder pain, it may be due to poor posture.
Poor posture can lead to nerve damage because the nerves get compressed, which can trigger hand or leg pain, and as your immune system has to work harder to heal overworked muscles, chronic inflammation can develop, resulting in arthritis in nearby joints. If you’re suffering from
pain that may be due to poor posture, it’s probably time to make an appointment with Exeter physical therapy or a physical therapy office in your area.
Otherwise, if you’ve developed any of the habits below and haven’t experienced pain yet, you’ll want to take action to change it now before it sets in.
You Don’t Move Enough
The primary cause of posture leading to pain is staying in one position for too long. Our bodies were meant to move, changing postures throughout the day. Staying static in any position for a long day, including sitting at a desk, watching a movie curled up on the sofa, or staring down at a cellphone, will lead to discomfort. Ideally, you should get up and stretch or move positions every 30 minutes.
Poor Desk Set-Up
Many people sit and work at a computer all day long. Not only do you need to follow the previous advice by changing positions every 30 minutes, or even better, getting up and moving, you need to make sure you’re set up properly in the first place. Be sure that your monitor is positioned straight ahead at eye level and not so that you’re looking downward, which significantly increases strain on your neck. Your arms and shoulders should be at a 90-degree angle. Have a standing desk? Be careful not to lean too far forward, keeping your spine in a neutral position, otherwise, it can lead to lower back pain.
Your Purse or Backpack is Too Heavy
If you frequently carry a heavy purse or backpack, especially when either is always worn over the same shoulder, it’s a posture killer that can lead to pain.
You Don’t Use Your Core Muscles
If you aren’t using your core muscles while standing or sitting, allowing your lower back to slouch or your belly to push forward, the muscles aren’t supporting your spine. Over time, that can trigger pain in your lower back or even herniated discs. Aim to pull your belly button in toward your lower spine so that your lower abdominal muscles engage instead. It will help improve core muscle strength, and once you’ve developed the habit, you’ll do it without having to even think about it.
You’re Suffering From Chronic Stress
While some stress is fine, when it becomes chronic, it causes the body to be continuously in that “fight or flight” mode, which creates tension in muscles that you use the most. Those are the muscles that affect your posture, causing you to slouch. In addition to paying attention to how you’re sitting and standing, it’s important to take steps to reduce stress, such as working out regularly and practicing deep breathing or meditation.