Poor posture can lead to a whole host of everyday aches and pains, including back pain, headaches, restricted breathing, and digestive issues. To help correct your posture – and improve the ailments caused by poor posture – follow these 5 steps for better health:
The first step in improving your posture is being mindful of how you carry your body as often as possible. The good thing is that posture is a habitual problem, not a natural one. Maintaining consciousness of your posture allows you to implement positive habits in the hopes of correcting bad ones.
Start by making notes when you notice your poor posture throughout the day. Keep track of when you’re most likely to experience back pain and your environment when you feel pain. Is it at work when you’re sitting at a desk for 8 hours each day or on the hour-long commute to and from work? How is your posture when you sit and watch your evening television? Does your back only hurt when you wake up in the morning?
Reset Your Shoulders
When you hunch over, it pulls your shoulders forward, causing back aches and neck pain. Relax your pectoral muscles with exercises in order to stretch out your chest and relieve tension. Pectoral exercises, such as push ups, will help your shoulders fall back and drop down to a natural position.
Strengthen Your Core
Your abdominal muscles also play a major role in helping you stand and sit straight. They work together, alongside your lower back muscles, as part of an intricate muscular system that supports the frame of your back. As you sit, stand, or bend over, these muscles work to keep your back upright and moving all day long.
When you have a weak core, you’re more likely to experience strain on your lower back muscles since they are picking up most of the slack. If you work on strengthening your core with exercises such as planks, your abdominal muscles will help relieve this strain on your lower back.
Learn to Stand Properly
The lumbar spine (lower back) is responsible for carrying the weight of your torso, which makes it more susceptible to injuries. The muscular system that supports the lumbar system is what causes us to feel back pain when we have weak muscles and poor posture.
That’s why it is important to learn how to stand properly in order to evaluate your spinal health. Test your back posture up against a wall to measure the curve of your lower back. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. If you’re having trouble standing with your back up against the wall, that is a pretty good indication that you need to work on your posture.
Practice in Increments
Holding perfect posture 100% of your day is nearly impossible for the average Joe, especially if you’re just starting out. It’s better to give yourself posture breaks throughout the day where you’re focused solely on correcting your posture in 2- to 5-minute increments. These small little breaks throughout the day, when practiced consistently, are enough to rectify your bad posture habits overtime.
Experienced Spinal Care in Bethesda & Germantown
At Maryland Orthopedic Specialists, we know the importance of proper posture to overall spinal health. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled professionals.