Remember when your mom used to tell you to sit up straight? It turns out she was right.
Years of poor posture, according to experts, have been shown to put unnecessary pressure on the spine and supporting muscles and ligaments that can result in everything from back pain to muscle strain to degenerative arthritis. And most of us make things worse on a daily basis.
How so? Research has found that stress, obesity, incorrect positioning while sleeping, standing, sitting, working, and even wearing high heels can all contribute to poor posture.
Making matters worse, back problems cause more than just physical pain — it hurts the wallet, too. Americans spend billions each year seeking relief from back pain and it’s one of the most common reasons for missed work.
Here’s a quick checklist to correct your posture while seated at your desk.
- Relax your shoulders and keep your forearms parallel to the ground when at a
- Keep your head back and chin up.
- Don’t cross your legs.
- Use a footrest if your feet don’t touch the floor.
If you have been experiencing back pain or stiffness that persists due to poor postural habits, it’s wise to consider treatment that is non-invasive and drug-free first.
Note that almost 20 years ago the federal Agency for Health Care Policy and Research recommended spinal manipulation (referred to by doctors of chiropractic as an “adjustment”) as a “safe and effective, drugless” treatment for sufferers of low back pain. And the same is still true today. A chiropractic treatment can release structural fixations (locked joints and skeletal misalignments) with gentle, non-invasive movements. This often results in immediate muscle relaxation and pain reduction without the risks of pain medications and often more costly spinal injections.
In addition, after the chiropractor rules out any serious underlying conditions, a series of exercises will be recommended to strengthen core postural muscles.
With chiropractic care & proper posture you can reduce your risk of future episodes of back pain.
This article is adapted from material from our colleagues at Foundation for Chiropractic Progress.
Home exercises to improve posture and maintain proper skeletal alignment…just minutes a day to reduce risk of suffering with back pain!
Check with your healthcare practitioner before performing these exercises to determine if they are right for you.
Exercise #1: Three Point Touch
Stand with your back to the wall. Place your shoulders and head against the wall. Place your hands on your lower abs. Relax the shoulder blades down and take 5 large breaths feeling your hands move in and out. Repeat 3 to 5 times a day with 5 breaths per repetition.
Exercise #2: Neck Retraction
Focus eyes on the horizon, move your head steadily and slowly straight back until it is pulled back as far as is comfortable. Do 5 repetitions. Repeat 3 to 5 times a day.
Exercise #3: One-Leg Raise
Stand with your back against the wall. Stand on one leg for 20 seconds with opposite thigh horizontal and bent to 90º if possible. Do 5 repetitions on each leg. Repeat 3 to 5 times a day.
Exercise #4: Pelvic Tilt at Wall
Stand with your back to the wall. Breathing in deeply, press the small of your back against the wall pulling the stomach in and exhaling. Hold for 5 seconds then release and repeat. Do 5 repetitions. Repeat 3 to 5 times a day.