Do you often find yourself slouching at your desk, when waiting in line at the store, or even when you’re walking? We may catch ourselves slouching and correct our posture momentarily, but when not consciously thinking about it, our bodies often return to a state of poor posture if that is what they’ve become accustomed to. If poor posture is not corrected, it can have many detrimental effects on your health including neck, back, and shoulder pain, trouble sleeping, poor mobility, trouble breathing and even gastrointestinal issues.
In this blog, we will discuss factors that contribute to poor posture, its resulting negative health effects, and how posture can be improved.
What is Posture?
Posture can be categorized into static posture and dynamic posture and refers to the positioning of your body. Stationary positions such as sitting or sleeping fall under static posture, whereas activities involving movement such as walking and running fall under dynamic posture.
Keeping your head aligned with your shoulders and your shoulders aligned directly over your hips is needed to maintain a posture that is generally good for your body.
What Causes Poor Posture?
Reasons for poor posture include:
A sedentary lifestyle: Prolonged time spent sitting and not enough physical activity refer to this kind of lifestyle.
Stress: Stress from your work or personal life can lead to you not paying attention to your posture and allowing for your muscles to tighten up and to slouch.
Screen time: Too much screen time at a TV or playing video games can mean prolonged periods of time spent sitting.
Stiff joints and weak muscles: Not getting enough physical activity or having an exercise regimen can result in stiff joints and weak muscles that encourage your body to position itself in an unhealthy way. For example, if you have tight chest muscles, they can pull you forward causing unalignment, and if your core muscles are weak, the way you hold your upper and lower body can be affected.
How Does Poor Posture Affect Your Health?
Forward neck posture: This is a type of misalignment where the head is pushed forward and no longer aligned with the midline of the body. This can lead to neck stiffness and pain, tightness in the jaw, headaches, and pain in the surrounding areas of the body.
Tech neck/text neck: If you slouch over when looking at a device such as a phone, tablet or computer, the head is down and in a forward position which puts weight on the neck and spine. Tech neck can result in pain in the neck and surrounding areas.
Sway back: This is a type of misalignment where the hips and pelvis are tilted forward, creating an inward curve to the lower back. Sitting while leaning forward can put stress on the lumbar discs and weaken the muscles in the back, further resulting in back pain.
Difficulty breathing: Poor posture can restrict the rib cage and diaphragm which in turn reduces how much the lungs are filled when breathing. A prolonged slouching position can weaken the muscles of the diaphragm resulting in shortness of breath and overall difficulty in breathing.
Gastrointestinal issues: When in a hunched forward position, your organs can become compressed and restricted in a way that causes issues such as acid reflux and other GI conditions.
Poor blood circulation: Tight muscles and constricted blood vessels can result from poor posture and prolonged sitting. This tightness and constriction can prevent healthy blood circulation throughout the body which is necessary for the flow and delivery of oxygen. High blood pressure and varicose veins are examples of conditions that can result from poor circulation.
Massage Therapy & Getting Relief from Poor Posture
Maintaining a good posture is important for your health. A correct posture in the proper alignment reduces stress and tension on the body and decreases the occurrence of pain and muscle fatigue. Good posture can improve your energy, motivation and concentration levels and reduce bodily aches and pains.
You can start to improve your posture by making sure to stretch and take breaks from prolonged sitting by setting time aside to get up and move around. Work on keeping your head, shoulders and hips aligned.
An expert Registered Massage Therapist at Ace Sports Clinic can help with tight muscles that may result from poor posture. Our massage therapists use deep tissue techniques to release tension from your muscles, improve blood circulation and can provide you with tips on maintaining proper posture.
Contact us to book your appointment today!