We all heard that command from our parents and teachers as we were growing up but did any of us realize just how important their advice was? The longer I practice the more I realize that proper posture is an essential part of good health. Over and over I find that no matter the problem someone is seeking out my services for it is improved by proper posture.
Whether sitting or standing, poor posture can lead to a whole host of problems. When one sits with poor posture it causes the lumbar spine (lower back) to be round, the thoracic spine to collapse and the shoulders to round inward, the head to jut forward and the suboccipital muscles to contract. This poor posture exacerbates or potentates low back pain, herniated discs in both the low back and neck, thoracic outlet syndrome, rotator cuff problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, neck pain, headaches, decreased digestion, decreased lung capacity as well as many other issues.
Upon standing ones hip flexors are short and the low back is tight leading to a decreased stride length. The forward head posture and rounded shoulders that were a result of poor seated posture often remains while standing. Because the shoulders are rounded inward there is decreased or no arm swing while walking causing the whole spine to further stiffen as the natural rotation that occurs throughout the spine with proper gait is absent. This locking of the spine leads to complaints of constant back pain and tightness and contributes to pain and problem experienced in the lower extremities.
These are just some of the problems that poor posture causes. So, the next time someone tells you to sit up straight I suggest you listen. It will do your body good!
Next time I’ll write about the proper way to correct one’s posture in both sitting and standing.