Remember your mother used to say to stand straight and not slouch on any one side. She used to correct your posture and wanted to prevent you from many of the postural problems like hunch back, hip tilt, rounded shoulders which not only hampers your external appearance but also cause many other health problems like back ache, neck pain and other joint pains.
Posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while standing, sitting or lying down. Good posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement or weight-bearing activities. Proper posture:
- Keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly.
- Helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis.
- Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
- Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
- Prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
- Prevents strain or overuse problems.
- Prevents backache and muscular pain.
- Contributes to a good appearance.
Why does poor posture cause back pain ?
When you use proper posture the muscles are all working together to keep the body in proper posture. This use of proper posture keeps those muscles toned, making it unlikely to injury. When you slouch you are blocking those muscles from working properly, but also using other muscles in a way that puts a strain on the back.
Your inner emotional state is being reflected on your physical state. When you feel good, automatically your shoulders stop slouching, your head is held up higher and there is more spring in your step, as if your vitality levels somehow regained their former levels. With women, exterior appearances are also an extremely important factor.
How to improve your posture-
- Know what good posture is. Most people think that to “stand up straight” means tensing your back to heave your chest ‘in and up’, and pulling your head back in to your chest. This is not so. The spine has two natural curves that you need to maintain called the ‘double C’ or ‘S’ curves, these are the curves found from the base of your head to your shoulders and the curve from the upper back to the base of the spine. When standing straight up, make sure that your weight is evenly distributed on your feet. You might feel like you are leaning forward, and look stupid, but you don’t.
- Using a mirror, align your ears, shoulders, and hips. Proper alignment places your ears loosely above your shoulders, above your hips. Again, these points make a straight line, but the spine itself curves in a slight ‘S’. You’ll find that this doesn’t hurt at all. If you do experience pain, look at your side view in a mirror to see if you’re forcing your back into an unnatural position. If so, stop it
- Do exercises that strengthen the muscles across your upper back and shoulders. These do not have to be strenuous! Repeat them few times a day
- Do stretches. This can greatly help if you find that you have a sore back or neck after a while.
- Do yoga. Yoga is also excellent for posture. You can take a class or find a good workout video.
- Use Posture Accessories: Such as braces, back supports or foot arch supports if needed so that spinal alignment is maintained
- Reduce Excess Fat: Especially at abdominal and buttock region. This will help you to distribute weight load in proper way on spinal column. Also, this helps to maintain center of gravity.
These are some of the ways by which you can keep a watch on your posture and prevent yourself from lot of problems that occurs from bad posture.
Dr Neha Gandhi(PT), MSPT
Dr Kiran Shete, MS(Ortho), DNB