Have you ever looked at a picture of yourself and thought, “Do I actually stand like that?” When you’re looking in the mirror, it’s easy to adjust your posture. But, when you’re focused on everything but your stance, you may not realize that your posture is so slouched it would make your mother cringe. Good posture is much more than standing up straight or looking good—it plays a role in your persistent aches and pains. In fact, that crick in your neck and tension in your shoulders or lower back are directly related to your posture. In order to avoid unnecessary discomfort, find out how you can break that bad habit of slouching today.

What Causes Bad Posture?

Your posture is how you hold your body in various positions. It is important to be aware of posture while moving, sitting, standing, or sleeping. Yes, sleeping. There are certain sleeping positions that can cause pain in the morning. Sitting hunched over a phone or computer can lead to a bad habit of curved shoulders. Many people with bad posture lacked awareness of the position of their spine, never corrected themselves, and now have bad habits. Other people have medical issues like scoliosis that leads to poor posture. With scoliosis, the spine curves sideways making the hips, waist, and shoulders uneven. An inflammatory disease known as ankylosing spondylitis leads interlocking bones in the spine to fuse together. Hunching over is a common effect with both of these diseases.

Why Is It Important to Have Good Posture?

Good posture is an indication that your body is properly aligned with respect to gravity. Can you believe it? Gravity is so much more than our anchor to earth. It constantly puts extra force on your bones, muscles, and ligaments. Good posture allows that force to be distributed evenly, avoiding excess pressure on one part of your body. When you have good posture, you also have increased ease of movement, flexibility, and properly functioning internal organs. It is easier to take deep breaths, and your digestive tract can function properly and more efficiently when you have a habit of good posture.

Good posture enhances your bones and joint alignment, which ensures your muscles are used properly. You can avoid joint pain, arthritis, muscle fatigue, muscle strain, and reduce your risk of injury if you correct your posture. A healthy spine is directly influenced by good posture. Sitting for too long without adequate back support or habitually slouching can cause constricted nerves and blood vessels. In order to prevent unhealthy stress on your spine, good posture is a must. The goal is to recondition your body to be comfortable with good posture.

How Do I Maintain Good Posture?

If you want to eliminate your bad habit of slouching, you first need to be conscientious of your posture and regularly adjust it. Good posture is all about proper alignment to give the maximum support to each curve in your spine. There are three natural curves in your spine. The first is at the base of your neck—your cervical spine. The second is your thoracic spine or the middle of your back. And the third is found in your lower back—the lumbar spine.

If you’re standing, your head should rest evenly on top of your shoulders, your shoulders squared above your hips, and your feet should be shoulder width apart with your weight on the balls of your feet. It is also important to keep your back straight, not arched, so think about tucking in your stomach. (Please note, we didn’t say “suck in,” but tuck in.)

When you’re sitting, it’s important to sit all the way back in your chair and have proper lumbar support. Keep your head up, your shoulders back, and your back straight. Take regular walks throughout the day if you spend the majority of your time at your desk.

If you tend to wake up with sore muscles or tension spots, consider sleeping on your side with your spine aligned. Avoid positions that put stress on the natural curves of your back. Regular exercise can also help you maintain good posture, especially when you strengthen your core muscles. It’s important to keep practicing good posture until it becomes second nature.

Good posture has a positive effect on your overall health. So, if you have tried to correct your posture without success and continue to experience pain, you may need physiotherapy. Contact our offices at Capital Ortho today. Our amazing staff will help determine the root of the issue and help you feel—and move—better.