Have you ever wondered why people often complain about back pain, nerve constriction, and poor indigestion? It may be surprising to you if I tell you that these and other symptoms can be attributed to poor posture. The effects of poor posture on our health are innumerable, and the consequences are nothing to wish for.
Why are cases of poor posture on the increase? The answer may not be farfetched. Seeing that this is the era of technology and virtually everybody is engrossed with work. One of the easiest ways of exposing ourselves to this health risk is our computers and in other cases our phones.
The negative effects of poor posture don’t discriminate between men, women, young or old. If one is careless about his posture, over time, it could result in deformity of the spine, body pain, impaired cardiovascular health, poor circulation, and negative impact on your mood.
We will talk more about these later on in this article. Let’s talk a bit about slouching. Did you know that slouching squeezes your internal organs thereby hindering digestion? Assuming the right posture helps with digestion and keeps the chiropractor away. Recent studies reveal that poor posture also affects oxygen supply to our body tissues, and this is largely attributed to the posture people assume while using their phones and computers.
What causes back pain?
Adults and even teenagers have reported cases of back pain, which in most cases are attributed to slouching in front of televisions and computers. In addition to the pain and discomfort that comes with poor posture, there is a high correlation of developing a misaligned spine. Let’s explain this in simpler terms. A misaligned spine pulls on different muscles in our body, causing some muscles to become over facilitated, shortening and tightening and others to become long and weak. When this happens, the muscles become imbalanced and predispose you to injury.
Having practiced as a CHEK exercise coach for over 10 years, we have recorded success stories with pain-free results for our clients through a comprehensive posture and spinal alignment assessment and implementation of a corrective exercise program. Our methods enable us to determine which muscles are short, tight, and which are long and weak. Once we have successfully identified these factors, we can balance the body and begin to work towards positive changes with appropriate “corrective exercises.”
Is Prolonged Sitting A Health Risk?
It may interest you to know that 70% of people spend at least six hours each day sitting down. These could be as a result of work, during a commute, or watching TV. According to this report by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, there is a need for us to be watchful of our daily routine – especially regarding our sitting lifestyle during leisure or physically demanding activities. Prolonged sitting makes your spine stiff and sore. It also causes body pain, especially your back. You are sitting for long hours and creating stressors on the discs on your back and the neck. Hence causing discomfort as we mentioned earlier.
Forward Head Position Is Bad for Your Body
Most people sit in a forward head position while writing, or working on their computer without even realising it. This leads to a rounded shoulder posture, increased thoracic curvature (Kyphosis), which is also known as a poor posture syndrome. We will give you tips on how to manage such situations before seeking proper chiropractic care.
Firstly, we strongly advise that you consider your ergonomics while purchasing your chairs. Then you need to be mindful of your sitting posture; if you adopt these tips, you would have significantly reduced chances of having spinal damage as we mentioned earlier in this article. Stretching is also a good way of making the muscles relaxed.
Let’s do a quick rundown of some causes of back pain:
- Faulty lifting techniques
- Faulty ergonomics
- Muscle imbalance
- The poor abdominal wall function
- Visceral-Somato Reflex
- Spinal fractures
- Spinal tumors
- Spinal infections
- Degenerative disease and of course,
- Bad posture
Correcting Poor Posture
Having identified the specific muscle imbalances, which typically includes excessive lumber tilt, you will need the services of a CHEK Exercise Coach to provide the right corrective exercise(s) that will enable you to regain strength and boost body restoration. Further examination will be done to identify what muscles also require corrective exercise. This process is specifically designed to help balance the musculoskeletal system and restore muscle balance to the body.
Forward Head Posture
If you are dealing with forward head posture, other factors need to be examined. The situation may demand a professional and comprehensive Postural and Orthopedic Analysis. While correcting your posture, you will be engaging in some stretching activities to help stretch the short tight muscles and some strengthening exercises to shorten and tighten the long weak muscles.
At this point, we should throw in a little reminder. You should have it at the back of the mind that poor posture and body pain go hand in hand. Also, virtually all posture defects and symptoms don’t show up immediately-They take time to manifest.
More on ergonomic chairs
Seating on ordinary chairs could be comfortable, but they pose a risk to your posture. Ordinary chairs limit your movements and as such exerting much pressure on your (lower) back. Over time, you would have expended so much energy on achieving balance, and flexible movement-which ultimately drains the body’s nervous system creating unnecessary fatigue.
Ergonomic chairs are designed to save you from such dreadful situations. Getting an ergonomic chair is an investment in your well-being. They will give you the much-needed balance your body needs while you go about your daily routine at work or home while working on your computer, phone, and other gadgets for an extended period. Slouching and prolonged sitting with poor posture leads to unwanted back and neck pain and if you don’t take steps to prevent poor posture it’s only a matter of time before pain syndromes will manifest themselves. As they say prevention is better that the cure and with posture this is certainly the case.
Having ergonomic chairs dramatically reduces your fatigue and helps to improve your overall spinal alignment. The take home message is that most people are getting rid of ordinary chairs and opting for ergonomically designed chairs in both their homes and workplaces, including schools.
A correctly sized swiss ball is another alternative that will help to “switch on” your posture stabiliser muscles and keep you mindful of correct posture.
Shane Lyons, New Zealand Fitness Professional
CHEK Exercise Coach
Certified GTS Gravity Personal Trainer