Most people don't give posture much thought, but everyone should. Bad posture can do more than negatively impact your appearance. Over time, it can lead to health problems. Read on to learn more about the importance of good posture and how to improve posture through lifestyle changes and chiropractic care.
What Is Good Posture?
There are two kinds of posture:
- Dynamic posture, which refers to how you hold your body when you are walking, running, and moving in other ways
- Static posture, which refers to how you hold your body when you are in a stationary position, such as sitting or sleeping
Good posture is when your head is centered above your shoulders, and your shoulders are aligned with your hips. In this position, your chin is parallel with the floor, and your spine can maintain its natural curve from the neck to the middle of your back to your low back.
Effects of Bad Posture
Over time, bad posture can:
- Lead to misalignment of the spine
- Increase wear on discs that insulate the spine
- Trigger pain in the back, shoulders, and neck
- Impair flexibility
- Make it difficult for joints to move
- Reduce balance
- Increase risk for fall accidents
- Interfere with digestion
- Hinder breathing
What Causes Bad Posture?
Many things can contribute to bad posture. Some of them involve medical conditions, while others are due to lifestyle:
- Positioning your head forward when you're sitting or standing
- Sitting in chairs that don't provide proper support or are not the ideal height for your body
- Asymmetry of the body that causes one hip or shoulder to be higher than the other
- Curvature of the spine like scoliosis and kyphosis
- Irregularities in the curve of the spine
How To Know If You Have Posture Issues
Some signs of bad posture include:
- Rounding your shoulders when you're sitting or standing
- Chronic headaches
- One hip or shoulder appearing higher than the other
- Persistent pain or stiffness in your neck or back
- Stomach jutting forward
- Bent knees when you're walking or standing still
How To Fix Posture on Your Own
There are some things you can do to improve your posture on your own:
- Pay closer attention to your posture throughout the day. Assess where your head, shoulders, and hips are in relation to one another
- Reassess furniture like your office chair or mattress
- Try yoga or tai chi to improve body awareness
- Do muscle-strengthening exercises for your core and back two to three times per week
- Lose weight if you're overweight or obese
- Avoid high heel shoes, which can impact your balance and the curve of your spine
- Change positions regularly when you're sitting for long periods
- Keep both feet on the floor when you're sitting
- Draw your elbows in close to your body and keep them at a 90- to 120-degree angle when using a computer
- Let your arms hang loose at your sides when you're standing
Can a Chiropractor Help with Posture?
Yes, a chiropractor can help correct posture for many people. Numerous studies have confirmed the benefits of chiropractic care for low back pain caused by misalignment of the spine due to poor posture and other causes. One study found that people who received chiropractic care for four weeks saw a more significant reduction in symptoms than those who did not. Another showed that people who saw a chiropractor were less likely to need opioids to control severe back pain.
How Does Chiropractic Help Posture?
The primary focus of chiropractic care is to correct misalignment of the spine. As misalignment is one of the leading causes of poor posture, a chiropractor can help get your body back into the proper alignment to make good posture easier to maintain. In addition, chiropractic care can reduce stress on the spine caused by poor posture to relieve symptoms like headaches and back pain.
Possible Treatments Used by a Chiropractor for Posture
Some treatments that a chiropractor may use for poor posture include:
- Adjustment: a treatment where the chiropractor uses their hands to move your spine and joints to correct misalignment
- Probing and education: your chiropractor can ask questions to determine what might be contributing to your posture problems. Then, they can recommend changes that you can make to your physical positioning and your environment to address the problems
- Assessing images: through diagnostic imaging, a chiropractor can determine if any deformities of the spine, such as scoliosis, are contributing to poor posture and develop a treatment plan to address them
- Massage: through muscle-release massage, a chiropractor can ease inflammation in muscles that may be contributing to pain that makes maintaining good posture uncomfortable
- Exercise: your doctor may recommend a specific set of chiropractic exercises for posture for you to do daily at home to complement treatment