Do You Have Bad Posture?

Woman working while sitting on floor and leaning against couch

Growing up most heard their parents or other adults say, “Sit up straight.” While you may have straightened your back to follow the directions of your elders, you probably slouched back down the moment they took their eyes off you. These people weren’t trying to be mean, they were actually just trying to make sure that you have good posture and stay in good health. Yes, good posture and healthy living go hand-in-hand. If you end up having poor posture it can cause back pain and skeletal issues. In some cases, posture can get so bad it could require surgery.

The alarming fact is that less than half of Americans worry about their poor posture or find ways to improve it. Luckily, since you are here, you do have concerns and want to learn more. 

What is bad posture?

Bad posture occurs when there is an imbalance in your body, specifically your back, neck and shoulders. Since there is an imbalance, you can feel pain, discomfort and other health issues. Depending on the severity of your bad posture there are exercises to rebalance your posture. 

What causes bad posture?

Many factors can cause an individual to have poor posture. Common causes include slumped shoulders, slouching in a car/desk, obesity, pregnancy, age, stress, whiplash, improper sleeping positions, muscle weakness and more. Your daily activities and lifestyle can tremendously affect your posture. For example, continuously staring down at your phone or even sitting at your work desk can create posture issues. Other causes that not many people talk about are the shoes you wear. Heels cause your body to move forward, which misaligns your body. There are also some hereditary diseases or disorders that can affect your posture like Scheuermann's disease.

What are the symptoms of bad posture?

Just like any other medical issue, bad posture comes with symptoms. Physical symptoms you may notice include slouching, humped back and curved back. If you have bad posture, you may also have muscle aches, headaches, back pain and muscle fatigue. Over time, poor posture can cause individuals to have arthritis in their knees and back, varicose veins due to poor circulation, depression, jaw pain, lower breathing efficiency, weakened pelvic muscles and more. Some people experience only a few of these symptoms, while others experience multiple at the same time. If you notice any of these symptoms, reach out to a chiropractor right away to find the right treatment. 

How can you improve your posture? 

Luckily, we have some good news for you! You can improve your posture. There are many exercises and stretches you can do. You will want to do muscle-strengthening stretches two to three times a week. Neck stretches and abdominal exercises like crunches can drastically improve your posture. Exercising at least five times a week can also strengthen and tone your muscles, which will help your posture in the long run. Doctors also recommend avoiding standing on one foot for long periods and to cross your ankles instead of your knees while sitting down. 

You do not have to improve your posture on your own. Your doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor can help as well. A doctor can help you find the right treatment, while a physical therapist can help you do the stretches and exercises. However, seeing a chiropractor is the first line of defense for poor posture. While working on you, they can adjust your back, shoulders, knees and neck. They will also be working on your muscles to help with tension, fatigue and pain. Anytime you receive treatment from a physical therapist or chiropractor, make sure to drink plenty of water before and after your appointment. Pain can sometimes follow after these visits, and it should subside after a few days. Always make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions. 

Once you have your posture back in a good place, you will need to maintain it. Easy steps to follow include avoid sitting in soft chairs, use lumbar rolls to support your back while driving or working at a desk, try out ergonomic chairs, find a supportive bed mattress, use a neck support pillow and when lifting, lift with your knees, not your back. 

Do not let poor posture take hold of your life. Grab it by the reigns and start making a change. The first step you can take is to visit a chiropractor. If you live in Milwaukee or the surrounding areas, Apps Chiropractic is perfect for you. Contact us to talk to Dr. Apps about posture today!