Hello All!!! As promised, I am following up in regards to the last article I wrote about posture…
First and foremost, it can be difficult to know if you have good or bad posture sometimes. I highly suggest consulting with a reputable and well educated Massage Therapist, Physical Therapist, Chiropractor, Structural Therapist, Functional Movement Specialist, or Physiatrist if you are unsure of your posture, or more importantly, concerned about your posture.
There is a lot more that goes into maintaining proper posture then you think. You need to have sufficient muscle strength and flexibility. There also needs to be normal or adequate joint motion in the spine and extremity joints, as well as efficient and balanced postural muscles along both sides of the spine and the core region. To make corrections working towards better posture, you must recognize your own postural habits, both at home, the work place, and any other time for that matter.
Bad postural habits can lead to an excessive amount of strain on the postural muscles. The bad habits can even cause these muscles to stretch and weaken over time. These postural muscles then become more prone to injury and back pain. There are many factors that contribute to bad posture; stress, obesity, weak core stabilizing muscles, pregnancy, and overly tight musculature just to name a handful. Lack of flexibility, poor working conditions, incorrect working posture, or unhealthy amounts of sitting and standing also contribute to bad posture.
A good question frequently asked, or a good question to ask yourself is, can I correct my posture? The answer is yes, BUT it isn’t always an easy task. The longer standing bad posture is, the longer it can take to correct due to the joints adjusting to bad postural habits over time. There has to be a conscious effect on your own, and understanding what correct posture is, and much practice to gradually replace your old and bad postural habits. Focusing on the way you sit, stand, and lay down will only help you move towards a better and healthier you.
Before wrapping up this little lecture about posture, I will leave you all with a few tips in regards to sitting, standing, and proper lying position.
When sitting, don’t cross your legs. Your ankles should be below or slightly in front of your knees. Keep your feet on the floor or a footrest. Your knees should be at the height or level of your hips, or just slightly below. The back rest of your chair should set between the low and mid back. There should be a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Forearms should be parallel to the ground. Try to avoid sitting in one position too long. I tell my patients this all the time! They must think I am the “nagging mom”, LOL.
When standing, try and bear your weight evenly on the balls of your feet. Your knees should be ever so slightly bent, and your feel should be about shoulder width apart. Try and stand straight and tall, with your shoulders pulled back, but letting your arms hang naturally along the sides of your body. Engage or tuck your stomach muscles in slightly. Also try to keep your head level. Focus on your earlobes being in align with your shoulders. And, when standing for periods of time, try and shift your weight from side to side or toes to heels.
Finally, when lying down, find the mattress and pillow that is right for you! Do NOT sleep on your stomach, I mean it! Sleeping on your back is the best, on your side is second best. If you are trying to transition to sleeping in one of these two positions, try sleeping with a pillow underneath your knees or in between your knees.
We as chiropractors are here to assist you, and recommend exercises, stretches, and give you tips to improve your posture and strengthen these core muscles. We can also help recommend proper postural techniques during activity, as well as help reduce your chance of injury.
Well, there you have it folks! If you have any other questions, feel free to email me at, email@example.com. Always happy to try and help you and your family lead a healthier and more active lifestyle.