Whether you realize it or not, many of the little aches and pains you may be quietly enduring each day can be attributed to bad posture. Bad posture can also lead to increased headaches. Sometimes, in an attempt to compensate for bad posture, we over-correct and further damage our spines. Where is the balance?
Our spines have three natural curves that stretch from the top to the bottom of the back. The cervical (neck), thoracic (chest), and lumbar (lower back). Remembering to keep these three parts of your spine in a natural form will improve overall body health.
These are the most common bad posture habits we’ve seen in our clients. Are you guilty of any of these?
Imagine yourself waiting in a check out line at a grocery store. Your feet are tired and you feel yourself shifting weight from one foot to the other. This is common. You may be distributing the weight of our body from one leg to the other to relieve pressure on our feet and ankles, but in fact you could be doing more harm than good. Center your weight evenly on our legs to provide greater stability. Other tips to improve your stance:
- Relax your back and shoulders.
- Keep your feet about waist width apart.
- Pull in your abdominals.
2. Lazy Sitting
We often find sitting to be a much more relaxing alternative to standing, and sometimes let ourselves slack off when it comes to good posture while sitting. Slouching while sitting not only can hurt your posture in the long run, you also get more tired while working on your current task. While working sitting down, try to do the following:
- Sit in a chair that is firm enough and has a back support. It is preferable that the back goes up to the shoulders so your whole back can relax.
- Sit as deeply as you can in the chair so that way your back is straightened against the back. This helps prevent slouching.
- Keep both your feet flat on the floor.
3. Bad bed, bad!
If you take naps, make sure to take them on surfaces that aren’t too firm or too soft, and that your back is supported in a comfortable position. If you find your back hurting after waking up, that is probably a sign that you are not in a good position or that you are not sleeping on a good surface. Be sure to have a bed that supports your back enough but isn’t too firm. If your bed is too firm, it can cause extra pressure to be placed on small sections of your spine. A bed that’s too soft pulls the pressure on your spine inward as your body curls on itself unnaturally.
Yes, nice beds are expensive. But remember, we’re talking about something you’ll spend about half of your life on. Sure, get a great deal on that extra set for the guest room, but your bed is not something you should be going cheap on.
5. Your dad was right …
Lift with the legs, not the back! Your legs are much stronger than your back and are accustomed to carrying heavier loads. Another danger regarding heavier objects is having to constantly carry them. A backpack filled with books or a large laptop bag, over time, can cause hunched shoulders and back. If you must have your heavy load with you, consider carrying your things in a trolley bag or roller bag so that the ground is bearing most of the weight.
How do I fix this?
Next time you schedule a massage, talk to your massage therapist about your posture habits–how you sit, sleep, and move through your day. They can feel what’s really going on under your skin, and can make some recommendations to help you take better care of yourself. They’ll also be able to help work out some of the adhesions and tightness that have arisen as a result of your bad habits.