We all know bad posture is, well, bad. But when we sit at a desk day after day, it can be hard to remember to quit slouching and pull our shoulders back. Having bad posture can have some effects on your health and body, whereas having good posture can actually be beneficial, and more than just outweighs the negative effects. We will cover the benefits of good posture at another time, today we are talking about the bad, because knowing the bad may help you realize why good posture is so important.
At the Spine Pain Center, we offer many services including, chiropractic, medical, and physical rehabilitation treatments that can help with your spine pain. There can be many causes of your back and neck pain, but there are also many different ways to treat that pain and avoid it in the future.
In this blog, we are going to go over why bad posture is in fact bad and what type of effects it can have on your health and body. But before we dive into what bad posture is, we are going to go over what good posture looks like, that way you know exactly how you should be sitting!
Proper Sitting Posture
To start, sit in your chair with your back straight, shoulders back, and your butt touching the back of your chair. With a normal spine alignment, you should have three natural curves in your spine, these are the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar. The cervical curve is from the bottom of your skull to the top of the thoracic spine, basically this curve in located in the neck. The second curve, called the thoracic curve is in the ribcage area of the spine and has a slight forward curve. The last curve is the lumbar curve, which is in the lower back.
All of these curves should be present when you are sitting with good posture, you can use a towel or lumbar roll to help maintain these curves. An article from Cleveland Clinic, give tips on how to get this posture. When you are sitting with proper posture, your weight should be evenly distributed on both hips, your knees should be bent and raised slightly higher or level with your knees, use a stool or foot rest if you need to. Now this is the part that is hard for many of us—your legs should not be crossed. We know, this will be hard to get used to. You feet should be flat on the floor (or stool) and you should rest your elbows on your chair or desk to help keep your shoulders relaxed. The Cleveland Clinic article also mentions that you should try and avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 minutes, as well as other tips to help you maintain good posture.
Now that we have gone over what good posture is and how you should be sitting as you read this blog, we are going to go over some of the effects that bad posture have on your health and body. Read on to learn more!
Not what you expected from bad posture, is it? According to both Prevention and Allied Travel Careers, bad posture can actually cause your depression to worsen or cause you to be in a worse mood. The Allied Travel Careers article mentions a study that found that those who sat in a slouched position were more likely to have low self-esteem, exhibit more fear, and had worse moods than those who sat upright. The Prevention article mentioned that a study done at San Francisco State University had students walk down the hall slouching or skipping, those who slouched had increased feelings of depression and lower energy levels.
But the Prevention article brought up another interesting point. When we think about it, bad posture is often correlated with negative connotations. If you see someone walking down the street with their shoulders back, head high, and back straight, you will assume they are confident, proud, and have a more positive outlook on life. If you see someone walking down the street slouched over, shoulders down, and head down, you are going to assume the opposite. But this goes for more than walking. If you are in an interview and sit slouched over with your head down, you will look less confident, less professional, and may not get the job because of it. If you sit up straight in an interview you will appear more confident, proud, professional, and like you know what you are doing. In fact, the Prevention article mentions that bad posture can also cause problems with your career.
Bad posture can also cause bad digestion, backing you up. Both the Allied Travel Careers and Prevention articles mention that this is a problem that can occur. When you are constantly slouching, your organs get bunched together, which can make it harder to digest food and lead to constipation. Sitting straight and having good posture can help keep everything flowing regularly, which in the end helps you feel better. The Prevention article also mentions that yoga and pilates are great workouts for getting everything flowing and regular again.
Makes You Look Fatter
Slouching over, whether you are standing or sitting, causes your organs to be pushed out more, giving you a heavier look. To look slimmer, sit and stand with your shoulders back and back straight. While this is not a huge health concern, it does affect the way we feel about ourselves.
Throughout the day, our bodies are moving fluids and gases back and forth from one part of our body to another. Most women have been taught that sitting with our legs crossed was proper, and while it may be socially proper, it is not proper posture. When we sit with our legs crossed, we are cutting off the flow of these fluids and gases, which increases pressure and may even result in spider veins. The Allied Travel Careers article mentions that crossing your legs when sitting can also cause lower back pains.
Bad posture can cause an increase in both mental and physical stress. Studies found that people with poor posture had a decrease in testosterone and an increase in cortisol, which increased their levels of stress and lowered their self-esteem. The physical stress is where we come in. Bad posture can cause physical stress to your body which causes soreness and pain.
In an article from Spine-Health, they state that a few hours of bad posture won’t have too much of an effect on your spine. But over time, bad posture can put a lot of stress on your spine, causing anatomical changes. This can lead to back pain that is caused by the constriction of blood vessels and nerves. Bad posture can eventually cause back pain, but if you are not sure what your back pain is from, here are some signs that your back pain is in fact from poor posture:
- Pain the worsens at different points throughout the day
- Pain that is reduced when you switch positions
- Pain that starts in the neck and moves down to the upper and lower back
- Pain that begins after getting a new desk job, a new chair, or a new car
You may realize that bad posture can make our backs stiff, but you what you may not have realized is that bad posture can truly affect your spine, as well as cause many different health issues to your body. Good posture is hard to adopt but once you get there, you will hopefully notice a huge change in the way you feel! At the Spine Pain Center, we can help you with your spinal pain and give you tip and tricks to beating poor posture! Contact us to learn more and schedule an appointment with us today!