It’s something you can easily spot in other people, but may have trouble identifying in yourself until it’s too late. Take a minute from your busy day at the office to look around at your co-workers sitting at their desks or walking to the water cooler. What do you see?
Quite likely, you’ll see people hunched over their computers, or walking with a stoop to their shoulders as they puzzle over the paperwork in their hands. You might think that a few minutes of adopting poor posture may be a little, inconsequential thing, but people tend to assume these incorrect positions for most of the day — and over time, they will begin to cause all kinds of pain and discomfort on the body.
What exactly is posture?
Posture refers to the way you carry your body not only when you are standing up or sitting down, but also when you are walking and lying down. The term comes from the body’s postural muscles which are meant to be constantly active — their purpose is to hold the body erect. When you observe proper posture, your body is in balance: Your weight is evenly distributed, your abdominal muscles are engaged, and your spine lengthens.
What happens when you have poor posture?
You might think that you’re more comfortable when you hunch forward to type on your computer keyboard or prep dinner at the kitchen counter, or slouch on the sofa while watching TV, than when you consciously attempt to keep your back ramrod straight as you go through your activities. But the truth is that the body becomes misaligned when this happens, and muscles and joints become overworked trying to keep your body in a proper position.
Have you ever noticed nagging pains on your back and neck, or headaches that seem to come and go? You might easily dismiss these discomforts as normal, but chance are they’re a direct result of your improper posture. And you may not know it, but allowing your body to assume poor posture can also affect your circulation, digestion, and even your moods.
How can a health professional help you?
One step in the right direction toward better posture and health is approaching specialists in chiropractic, physical therapy, pain management, or general medicine. When it comes to neck, shoulder, hip, and back pain care, NYC has centers that combine these specialties so that your individual condition can be properly diagnosed by the right experts. They will assess the severity of your poor posture and devise techniques to help train your body to stand, lie, sit and walk in positions that allow the muscles and joints to stay in balance and that put the least strain on ligaments.
Training the body for proper posture may involve some pain and a bit of challenge, but you stand to benefit much from having your muscles strengthened and your posture corrected — you will find relief from your pain, develop endurance and efficiency for movements, and improve your overall well-being.