Poor Posture Goes Beyond Back Pain: How Sitting Straight Can Improve Your Health
If you woke up one day with back pain, you’d assume something was wrong with your spine or its surrounding muscles. However, if you randomly develop a health problem like indigestion, one of the last places you’d look for an answer is your spine. After all, what could your spine have to do with ailments in other parts of the body? As it turns out, the health of your spine and the way you hold it can have widespread impacts.
One thing we urge to our clients at Align Wellness Center in Northbrook, IL, is that posture plays a major role in overall wellness. By interrupting the connections between the brain and body and putting pressure on other body parts, poor posture is believed to cause a wide range of ailments. If you’ve spent too long in a slumped-over position or stand and walk with an imbalanced gait, it’s time to make some changes – or else your health could suffer!
Why is good posture important?
Posture is the way you hold your body while you sit, stand, or lie down. Although your muscles work to keep you upright, you still need to be mindful of how you sit and stand. If you don’t, you might be placing excessive pressure on your neck, back, and other body parts.
Good posture helps to maintain the proper alignment of your spine and the strength of the muscles and ligaments that support it. Poor posture can do the opposite. After a while of sitting or standing incorrectly, your postural muscles may become weakened, and your spine can shift out of alignment, leading to back and neck pain. Over time, your joints and muscles can adjust to this poor posture, causing changes like abnormal curves that are difficult to reverse on your own.
How is poor posture related to health problems?
Back and neck pain are only two of the potential problems caused by poor posture, however. You can actually endure a range of health problems when you sit, stand, or lie improperly.
Here are a few of the surprising health effects of poor posture:
- Indigestion: When you slump over, you compress the space in your abdomen. This could cause stomach acid to enter the esophagus and trigger heartburn. Experts also believe that slouching forward puts pressure on the intestines, potentially slowing digestion and even leading to constipation by preventing feces from moving as it should.
- Impaired breathing: Slouching forward compresses your diaphragm and makes it more difficult for you to breathe properly. When you sit up tall, you open up the space in your thoracic cavity and allow the diaphragm to expand, so you can get a deep breath.
- Poor circulation: Poor posture – particularly when sitting in a chair with your shoulders rounded forward and your legs crossed – can hamper good circulation. Compression of the heart and blood vessels makes it harder for the heart to pump blood throughout your body. Not only that, but poor circulation might lead to painful varicose veins.
- Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ): Forward head posture paired with abnormal spinal curves or alignment caused by poor posture can begin to affect the muscles and joints in your jaw. When stressed, your mandibular joint may become painful and experience problems like an improper bite pattern, popping and locking of the jaw, and jaw cramps.
- Frequent headaches: Persistent forward head posture places excessive stress on the muscles in the neck and shoulders. When these muscles build up tension and become fatigued, you may experience frequent tension headaches.
By sitting and standing straight every day, you could potentially prevent these health problems from occurring, allowing you to lead a healthier and more comfortable life.
Can chiropractic correct my posture?
Living with health problems like those described above can be uncomfortable and even dangerous to your health long term. If they develop without warning, take a look at your posture. Are you sitting and standing evenly every day? Has your poor posture resulted in changes to your spinal alignment or bodily form? If so, you may want to visit a chiropractor.
Through a comprehensive assessment, your chiropractor will take a look at how you sit and stand, as well as identify weaknesses in the spine and its surrounding structures that may be causing your postural problems. Then, using corrective chiropractic techniques through the Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach, they can target and potentially rectify these underlying problems and, subsequently, the health issues you’ve developed as a result.
Your chiropractor may teach you how to maintain good posture while at home and at work. They may also walk you through stretches and exercises designed to strengthen your neck and back muscles, so they support your spine. Additionally, they may use massage techniques to loosen tight muscles and make it more comfortable for you to build good postural habits.
Do you believe you have a posture problem that’s affecting your neck, back, and overall health? Contact the spinal experts at Align Wellness Center in Northbrook, IL. Our CBP approach to patient wellness is unmatched in its ability to target and rectify musculoskeletal problems in people of all ages.
Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.