Most people often overlook their posture unless it affects their day-to-day lives. But how do you know if your posture is improper? It is when the spine appears unnatural, making it look like you are not standing or sitting straight. This can likely cause muscle or joint strain, neck pain, and back pain. Often poor posture can develop gradually, making it hard to notice that someone has it unless it interferes with their tasks or causes pain and other health problems.
The Difference Between Good and Bad Postures
How can you define a good posture from the bad one? Good posture refers to having a neutral spine, where the muscles, joints, and ligaments are aligned. It reduces stress that may affect the health of muscles and bones. A good posture can keep your body flexible, reduce fatigue, and help maintain your balance.
On the other hand, bad posture can cause body aches and pains on the spine's parts, such as the neck, shoulders, hips, and arms. Bad posture happens when people are slouching, their backs are hunching back, the head is tilted forward, and a possible excess in how the back or spine is positioned.
Common Causes of Bad Posture
Bad posture may be developed without you noticing it. It is essential to know its possible causes. The following are possible causes of bad posture:
#1 Slouching While Sitting Down
Whether you are just unaware of your stance or are focusing on your task, slouching can negatively impact your health, creating possible pains on the back, neck, and shoulder.
#2 Using of Technological Devices
Most people bend or tilt their head down when using their phones, creating additional pressure on the spine, especially when people spend approximately five hours a day using their smartphones.
Bad posture is not just caused by physical factors but as well as its emotional factors. Stress causes some muscles in the body to contract or tighten, causing strain or tension in the mid-back. It gets more difficult for those muscles to support the spine and maintain a balanced and vertical position when happening often.
These are neck injuries that are caused by the sudden movement of the head. These are often the results of accidents, whether by a car collision or a sports-related injury. Your posture can be affected by this as whiplash causes neck and back pain.
#5 Lifting Heavy Objects
carrying heavy objects can cause muscle spasms and tears to the ligaments that may lead to significant back pain. The focus on moving heavy items can often alter our posture as we try to support the object's weight on our body.
Common Bad Posture Problems
There are more bad posture problems than a person slouching on their seat or straining their neck in using their devices. Knowing what these postures look like can help in improving the way you sit or stand. The following are common types of bad posture:
#1 Forward Head
According to Healthline.com, a forward head occurs when the head is positioned with your ears in front of your body's vertical midline. This type of bad posture is also known as tech neck, text neck, and nerd's neck, as this posture is usually caused by hunching over a cellphone or computer.
Refers to an exaggerated curvature of the upper back, where the shoulders are often rounded forward. It is familiarly called the "hunchback" posture.
According to OrthoInfo, kyphosis causes a few problems and does not usually require treatment. However, in severe cases, kyphosis can be painful and can cause significant spinal deformity, possibly breathing problems.
A condition where your lower spine's standard curve loses some of its curves, a flatback is where your lower back looks straight, and you stoop forward. A flatback can be present since birth or is caused by a back surgery or a degenerative condition of the spine.
Another term for Lordosis or Hyperlordosis, swayback, is a type of bad posture with the pelvis and hips tilt forward and in front of the body's midline. It would look as if you're leaning back when you are standing up, with both the stomach and rear sticking out.
In addition to this, bad posture can cause back pain, headaches, curved neck, rounded shoulders as well as having random aches and pains in your joints and muscles.
How To Fix Bad Posture
A better posture can not only make you feel better but can also be beneficial for your health. Healthline.com states a few of many benefits of good posture, including:
- Improved balance. Having better balance not only lowers your risk of falls but can also improve your athletic ability.
- Less back pain. Good posture puts less stress and tension on the disks and vertebra in your spine.
- Lower risk of injury. Moving, standing, and sitting correctly reduces the strain on your muscles, joints, and ligaments.
- Less fatigue. When your muscles are used more efficiently, it can help conserve your energy.
- Fewer headaches. Poor posture can put extra strain on your neck, which can lead to tension headaches.
- Improved breathing. Good posture allows your lungs to expand more fully, allowing you to breathe easier.
- Better circulation. When your vital organs aren't compressed by slouching, it can help your blood flow more easily through your blood vessels and organs.
The first step to improve your posture is aware of how you sit and stand. Often we tend to be so caught up in the work that we forget to be aware of our posture. The following are a few tips on how to fix bad posture problems.
#1 Sit Properly
Bad posture occurs in sitting and standing positions. In taking a seat, it is essential to remember to do these simple tips to ensure good posture:
- Sit up straight and have your shoulders relax. Make sure that your shoulders are not hunched or rounded.
- Choose a chair that keeps your feet planted on the floor and a chair that can support your spine as you sit. Do not cross your legs.
- Keep your knees slightly high or on a level with your hips.
- Be attentive to the position of your head. Do not allow your head or your chin to sit forward from your shoulders. Keep it at the same level.
- Keep your ears at a level over your shoulders.
- Ensure that your technological devices such as smartphones or laptops are at eye level to prevent the neck from bending backward or forward.
#2 Stand Tall
Just like sitting, if you ignore how you stand, it can affect your posture. To stand with a fair and proper posture, here are a few tips that can help:
- Stand straight and tall by making your shoulders relax and slightly pulled back.
- Tuck in your stomach
- Do not bend your head forward and ensure that your ears are over your shoulders.
- Shift your weight from one foot to another if you need to stand in one place for an extended period.
The key to fixing poor posture is stretching and strengthening your muscles in the lower back, chest, and core. Possible stretches that you can do to reduce the risk of bad posture problems are the following:
- Shoulder Strengtheners. Squeezing the shoulder blades for 30 seconds at a time.
- Rows. Using a tool like a resistance band to pull back the elbows as if you're rowing.
- Tightening of abdominal muscles. It can be done by pulling your stomach in toward your spine.
- Planks. Holding on a push-up-like position while the elbows are propped.
- Chest muscle stretch. Putting the arms behind the back and grasping both elbows or forearms. Hold the position.
#4 Having Ergonomic Furniture
Sitting especially for an extended time may add stress to the structures in the spine. To avoid having bad posture problems, having ergonomic furniture is suitable to provide support in your stance.
- Lumbar Support. Sitting for long periods without lumbar support can lead to slouching. An ergonomic chair with lumbar support prevents your lower back from reclining.
- Backrest. These features are created to support the spine's natural curve and support as you lean back on the chair.
- Headrest. To avoid straining your neck, an ergonomic chair has a headrest to help support your head and neck when sitting for too long, avoiding the strain that can be done without having a headrest.
Ergonomic furniture also has sit-to-stand desk converters that adjust to your sitting level and can be used as a standing desk. This desk is so that you can avoid straining your back from sitting too long. Having this desk can help exercise your posture from sitting to standing up.
Having a proper posture is not just about sitting or standing up straight. How we carry ourselves is essential for our health in the long-run, so it is vital to know how to bring our body. Knowing how to take care of how we sit or stand can reduce the chances of having bad posture problems that can negatively affect our daily lives and prevent us from enjoying life.