Posted on 05-19-2016
Last week we talked about how important posture is to our health. Many of us take it for granted until it starts to cause serious problems. People get stuck into bad habits at work or in general don’t know just how bad their posture is. What they don’t know is progressive degeneration in your spine leads to bone spurring and fusion, which in turn can lead to permanent loss of motion and function.
So what are some tips to improve your posture?
1.)Stop checking your phone so much!
This is huge in our society, but try to avoid constantly craning your neck to check your phone and other mobile devices as it causes extra stress to your postural muscles in your neck and also causes premature wear on the spine. It’s estimated that we check our phones 150 times a day! Also our youth and teenagers are some of the worst offenders which is why we’re seeing neck problems younger and younger. If you can reduce how often you check your phone, or even bring your phone up to eye level it could help to greatly reduce the neck pain you’ve been experiencing.
2.)Get up and move!
I truly believe that anyone working in an office setting and who sits all day long should get ergonomic stretching advice from a corporate wellness doctor. Sitting really is the new smoking and just getting up and moving a little can have tremendous health benefits. I personally recommend to get up and move every half hour for at least two minutes, whether it be stretching, walking, or some mild form of exercise (pushups are great and easy). You might not even realize your muscles are fatigued and you may be slouching, so changing positions will help to reset and avoid any muscular fatiguing.
3.)Use ergonomic tools to help you out!
There are a variety of tools you can use to help your posture in any situation. If you work at a desk all day you can use a screen adjuster to make sure your computer is at the proper eye level for your own specific height. Lumbar supports and pillows can also be used to help ensure you’re not compromising your posture when you sit. Sit to stand transitional desks are great because you can go from sitting to standing in an instant. The transition desks are more beneficial as standing all day can also wreck your posture.
4.)Do exercises and stretches that strengthen and relax your postural muscles
Keeping your postural muscles strong and firing correctly can only help you maintain a better posture. The goal is to target weak and tight muscles that will help your body maintain a lengthened spine, as well as improve breathing which also has an effect on posture. Stretches like the mountain, spinal extension, supermans, and the supine hamstring stretch all are great. Planks are also great for stabilizing and strengthening your core muscles. Yoga is also amazing for your posture, don’t worry all you bros out there, flexibility will only make you stronger in the weight room, so suck it up and get your downward dog on!
5.)Go see your chiropractor!
As chiropractors our job is to detect misalignments in your spinal column and correct them. This helps to restore the proper motion those joints in your spine and help you move the way you were intended to! In our office specifically we use technology to show you that after getting chiropractic treatment you conserve more energy to your postural muscles, ensuring that they are being more efficient. This in turn also helps to reduce stress on ligaments making you less likely to injure yourself. Chiropractic can help to rewire the body’s neuromuscular connections, which actually helps your brain to remind your body to use its best possible posture!
Side Note: Be wary of your high heels ladies!
When you wear high heels your body actually tries to compensate from the lack of balance the heels cause. The spine and hips actually shift forward which causes the muscles of the spine, hip, and calves to become tight and tense. Strain and muscle fatigue are bound to happen as well as excess pressure on the knees. Telling women not to wear heels is like telling me pizza is unhealthy, I get it, but I’m not going to stop eating it! So here are some tips to help minimize the damage heels do!
- Try to keep the heel to two inches in length, the higher the heel the more pressure it exerts on the balls of your feet
- Try to avoid wearing them for long periods of time
- Stretch before and after wearing heels, specifically the calf, hamstring, and lower back muscles
- High heeled shoes that are pointed are actually even more harmful for your posture
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