Proper Posture refers to maintaining the body in a position which protects against excessive stresses which cause injury, while requiring a minimal amount of muscular effort to maintain. Simply put, a comfortable position which will not irritate your spinal tissues.
Posture plays a significant role in the development of chronic conditions such as chronic back and neck pain. Poor posture is responsible for over stretching ligaments and other supportive spinal structures as well as exhausting spinal musculature, all of which quickly leads to the development of chronic spinal pain.
Posture and motion don’t only affect how long you live, but also how well you live.Posture and biomechanically related back problems are the number three reason for all doctor visits (the common cold and respiratory infections are number one and two).
- 80 percent of Americans are afflicted with back pain at some point in their lives
- 65 Million Americans suffer from back pain every year
- Musculoskeletal conditions, including arthritis, low back pain, and repetitive motion strain, are the leading cause of absenteeism, with 2% of the US work force annually suffering a compensable back injury
- 83% of Americans rely on over the counter pain relievers
- 2/3 of the people who have experienced back pain can expect some symptoms every year
- Low back pain is the most common cause for disability for people under the age of 45, causing lost productivity in addition to non monetary costs such as diminished enjoyment of life and the ability to perform normal daily activities
Pain is not normal! Living with pain is a sign of tissue damage, stress, injury, breakdown, or other malfunction in the body. In the chiropractic office patients will typically say they have “normal back pain”. NO pain is NORMAL!!!
Proper Seated Posture
Prolonged sitting is a frequent cause of back and neck pain. While extended periods of sitting are best avoided, its a fact of life for many.
When sitting its important to keep the back straight, knees bent, and head centered over the shoulders. Slouching forward may be comfortable and allow the spinal muscles to relax but gradually overstretched spinal ligaments, leading to back and neck pain among other problems. We always encourage patients to maintain a “neutral spine” position at all time is ideal.
Important elements to consider with seated posture:
- Seat Height should be so that it allows you to sit all the way back in the seat while your feet are still able to reach the floor.
- Lumbar Support built into the chair or utilizing a portable lumbar pillow helps to maintain your natural lumbar back curve.
- Armrests provide support for the arms which helps to reduce the work load and stress on the trapezius and shoulder muscles.
- Take mini breaks once an hour when prolonged sitting and remember to stretch.
Proper Standing Posture
We stand every day however most people are unaware of how exactly they are carrying their systems. Consider the below guidelines for standing posture:
- Maintain a straight spine rather than slouching to the side
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Avoid standing still for long periods of time, rather, sit down or move around
- Keep the knees slightly bent
- keep the feet slightly less than shoulder width apart
- keep the chin up with the head centered over the shoulders
- Avoid slouching forward or hyperextending
Proper Lying Posture
Approximately 1/3 of your life is spent laying in bed, on the couch, and on the floor. When the patient is in pain routinely the patient will alter their normal posture to compensate for the pain.
Laying on your Stomach: Avoid stomach sleeping all together! Excessive stress is placed on the joints of the low back and the neck area. Excessive rotation in the neck region will lead to other much more serious complications. Neck pain, back pain, headaches, dizziness, arm paresthesia are common to follow stomach sleeping.
Laying on your back: Laying on your back will keep you in the anatomical position we were all designed to be in. While laying for prolonged periods of time the patient experiencing pain will find relief with a pillow under their knees or rolling a towel up to support the lumbar curve.
Laying on your side: This position typically is a way to relieve pain as those suffering from low back pain. Rule of thumb is that you should look like you are standing up. a proper pillow height to keep the neck in neutral position is required. As well, a pillow between the knees and the ankles will support the lumbar and hip structures and reduce torsion on the lumbar and pelvis.