Why is Good Posture Important?
Good Posture Prevents Chronic Pain and Protects Your Health
Everyone has more than likely heard, “Stand up straight,” or “Don’t slouch” at least once before. While slouching does not seem like such a harmful thing, it can cause plenty of problems in your back and throughout your body. Having good posture can help prevent chronic pain, plus give you plenty of other benefits.
Posture is essentially your body’s position and alignment to the force of gravity. Regardless of if you are sitting, standing, or even lying down, gravity is always exerting pressure on your body. Having good posture ensures that that force is evenly spread out across your entire body. When you have poor posture, that force spreads unevenly across the body, causing unforeseen issues and pain.
Often, people with poor posture experience chronic back pain, neck pain, and even leg pain. That is why having good posture is so crucial. It helps prevent pain and keeps you healthy. While your parents or teachers probably told you to stand up straight and not slouch, they probably did not understand why good posture is so significant.
At Texas Partners Healthcare Group, we understand the importance of having good posture. We know how standing up straight and sitting upright helps keep you pain-free and healthy. Throughout this article, we intend to explain why good posture is so important and how you can achieve it. However, if you experience chronic pain even with good posture, give our Frisco pain management clinic a call today and let us help you find pain relief.
What is Good Posture?
Often, people think good posture refers to standing up straight to look proper, but it is much more than that. As we stated earlier, posture is essentially your body’s position and alignment to the force of gravity. Having good posture ensures that that force evenly distributes across your body, not putting more stress on one area over another.
Keeping your body upright protects you from chronic pain, reduces your risk of injuries, and prevents other health problems. However, did you know that there are two types of posture? That’s right.
There is dynamic posture and static posture. Dynamic posture refers to your posture when you are moving (running, walking, bending over to lift something), while static posture refers to your posture when you are not moving (sitting, standing still, lying down).
Regardless of what you are doing, the key to good posture starts with your spine. Your spine has three natural curves: one at your neck, one in the middle of your back, and one in your lower back. Good posture should maintain these curves without increasing them.
We do not maintain this posture consciously. Certain muscle groups (such as the hamstrings and back muscles) do it for us without us needing to think about it. However, for one reason or another, you might develop poor posture that requires you to consciously correct it.
To fix your posture when standing or walking, you need to:
- Evenly distribute your weight predominantly on the balls of your feet
- Keep a slight bend in your knees
- Keep your feet shoulder-width apart
- Allow your arms to hang naturally at your sides
- Keep your shoulders above your hips and pulled backward
- Stand straight
- Keep your stomach tucked in
- Do not push your head forward, backward, or to one side; your ears should be level with your shoulders
- If you have to stand for long periods, shift your weight from your toes to your heels periodically
To fix your posture when sitting, you should:
- Keep your feet flat on the floor
- Do not cross your legs; keep your ankles in front of your knees
- Keep a small gap between the back of your knees and your seat
- Make sure your seat supports your mid and low back or invest in back support
- Keep your shoulders relaxed
- Keep your forearms parallel to the ground
- Do not sit in one spot for too long
How you lie down also affects your posture. For correct posture when lying down, you should:
- Find a mattress that is right for you; some people prefer firmer mattresses while others prefer softer ones
- Sleep with a pillow
- Do not sleep on your stomach
- If you suffer from back pain, sleeping on your side or back can provide pain relief; place a pillow between your legs if you sleep on your side; keep a pillow between your knees if you sleep on your back
Benefits of Good Posture
Poor posture often causes excessive strain on your postural muscles, which increases your risk of injury and back pain. Fortunately, you can improve your posture to ensure that you reap the benefits of good posture.
These benefits include:
- Reduced Lower Back Pain: Lower back pain is one of the most common results of poor posture. It weakens the muscles in your back and puts excessive stress on your lower back. With improved posture, you relieve this pressure, leading to pain relief.
- Improved Breathing: According to a study by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, bad posture can impact your breathing and lung capacity. When you regularly slouch, the muscles in the front of your body shorten, decreasing your ability to take deep breaths. By improving your posture, you can improve your breathing ability by as much as 30%.
- Boosted Energy: Good posture ensures that your muscles and bones function as they should without needing to overwork. Since your body does not have to work harder than it should, you will experience less fatigue and more energy.
- Improved Circulation and Digestion: When you slouch, you compress vital organs. When you compress these organs, you reduce your circulation. These organs will not function as well as they should. Good posture leads to healthy blood flow that improves circulation and digestion.
- Reduced Shoulder and Neck Tension: Some forms of poor posture cause your head to extend forward, backward, or to one side, which results in tension in your neck and shoulders. Good posture reduces this tension, relieving neck and shoulder pain, as well as headaches and migraines.
- Reduced Joint Wear and Tear: Whenever you have poor posture, you place uneven stress on particular joints in your body. This added pressure results in more wear and tear on your joints. Standing and sitting straight evenly distributes this pressure throughout your body.
- Boosted Self-Confidence: Proper posture helps improve your overall appearance, often making you seem taller and more confident. A 2009 study states that good posture often leads to more confidence in your own thoughts.
Seek Pain Relief
Whether you are sitting, standing, or lying down, poor posture is often the cause of chronic pain. Those with poor posture often experience back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, migraines, and even leg pain. However, even good posture cannot fix everything.
Even those with good posture experience chronic pain. Fortunately, Texas Partners Healthcare Group has a team of experienced and talented pain management doctors that will work diligently to find the cause of your pain. Once diagnosed, they will craft an effective pain management plan unique to you. Give our Frisco pain management clinic a call today, and we will help you find pain relief.