HEALTH CENTER

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Bad Posture by Magda Austin

Many people suffer from back or neck pain at some point in their lives. Most of the time pain that is not a result of an injury, is caused by a poor posture. Posture, by definition, is the way we hold our body. Good posture means correct alignment of the body parts supported by the right amount of muscle tension against gravity. Improper ways of sitting, driving, standing, or even sleeping puts pressure on discs, ligaments, and joints and eventually causes damage to the spinal structures. Poor posture can also lead to muscle spasms, as well as constriction of the blood vessels and nerves. Although, we are able to control the factors affecting our posture, many times it feels natural to hunch over or to slouch our shoulders. For many people, poor posture becomes a habit and over time; it not only changes anatomical characteristics of the spine, but also decreases circulation, and affects major body organs including the lungs.  Recent studies show that bad posture also influences our moods, attitude, and self-esteem, and causes chronic fatigue.

It is very important that we remember to move and position our body properly during daily activities. For example while sitting at the desk you should:

  • Sit straight; adjust your chair for back support
  • Keep your feet on the ground, or use a footrest
  • Do not cross your legs
  • Keep your knees at/or slightly below your hips
  • Set up your work station so your monitor is at or below your eye level
  • Avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time. Make sure to take frequent breaks and walk around
  • Move your head and neck only within a comfortable range of motion
  • Avoid cradling the phone with your neck and shoulder

 
While standing you should:

  • Pull your shoulder blades back and down
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Keep your chin level
  • Make sure your ears, shoulders, and hips are lined up
  • Breathe deeply
  • If your carry any objects, make sure to keep them close to your body
  • To lower yourself, bend your knees with a straight back instead of looking down and reaching for objects
  • Work at eye level. Don’t reach above your head or tilt your head back
  • If you have to stand for a long time, move your weight from your toes to your heels, or from one foot to another

 
While sleeping you should:

  • Choose the mattress that feels comfortable but at the same time supports your spine
  • Sleep with the pillow that is neither too high nor too low or use a neck roll
  • While sleeping on your back, put a pillow under your knees
  • While sleeping on your side, put a pillow between bent knees
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach

 

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.