Spending so much time at home or at our desk can negatively affect posture. The long term effects of poor posture can result in:
- Joint and muscle stiffness, tension and pain, especially in the neck, shoulders, and lower back
- Headaches and migraines
- Faulty digestion
- Reduction in lung capacity by up to 30%
- Sleep disturbance, drowsiness
- Decline in mental alertness, concentration and productivity
Good posture consists of:
- Ears above shoulders
When your head (which weighs about 10 lbs) is positioned directly over your shoulders, it’s balanced and causes minimal stress to the spine. If your head is forward, it can put excessive stress on the joints in the lower neck, which over long periods of time can lead to degenerative changes. The lower neck is where the nerves that feed the arms exit the spine. Degenerative changes in this region can cause serious arm problems.
Solution: Anterior translation exercise
- Shoulders back
Slouching draws the head forward and leads to increased stress on the lower back.
Solution: Rhomboid Strengthening exercises
- Hips over top of ankles
Some people sway the abdomen forward. This leads to an increased curve in the low back which can increase the stress on certain low back joints. The low back is naturally the area of highest stress in the spine and most prone to problems. Poor posture increases the stress on this already vulnerable area. The low back is also the region where the nerve that feeds the legs exits the spine. Low back degeneration can therefore lead to severe leg problems.
Solution: Bridge exercise
Tips to improve posture:
- Manual therapy (massage therapy, chiropractic) can help correct muscle imbalance.
- Change footwear regularly
- Ergonomic assessment for home office.
- Stretch and strength program to treat muscle imbalance
- Walk with shoulders relaxed and arms swinging naturally.
See a doctor if pain persists or doesn’t go away within a day or two, and a therapist if treatment is recommended.