5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Posture

Whether you stand or sit for work, your posture is probably suffering. After years of slouching, you might be dealing with back or neck pain from improper alignment of your spine. However, all hope isn’t lost — you can take simple steps to get rid of pain.

At Commonwealth Musculoskeletal Medicine, our team specializes in problems that affect your muscles and bones, including bad posture. Our team is led by Dr. Mark Conliffe, who is an expert in physical medicine, which not only promotes proper body mechanics, but also helps you to eliminate problems caused by improper posture.

What is posture?

Posture is essentially the way you hold your body; either lying down, sitting, or standing. There are basically two types of posture: dynamic posture and static posture. 

Dynamic posture is how you hold your body during activities like walking or running. Your body has to quickly adapt to the changing positions of your body with dynamic posture. 

Static posture, on the other hand, is the way you hold your body while you aren’t moving. This is basically your posture while you’re sitting or standing.

Proper posture isn’t just standing up straight so your body looks good — in fact, it’s so much more. Your health and wellness both depend on good posture, because of the alignment of your muscles and bones. So how is posture assessed? Dr. Conliffe looks at a variety of things, including:

The alignment of your body is different in the sitting, standing, or lying positions. Each position has a defined posture that helps your body maintain proper alignment to prevent pain. 

Problems associated with poor posture

Poor posture isn’t just slouching on the couch here and there, and it leads to more problems than the occasional back ache or headache. Posture also affects other parts of your body, and essentially your overall health. Here are some things to which bad posture can lead over time:

Poor posture also affects your overall balance, making you more prone to injuries from falls.As you can see, there’s much more to posture than just sitting up or standing straight. The sooner you learn to practice good posture, the better the outcome will be. 

5 tips to improve your posture

Many items are available to help improve your posture, but you don’t need them to improve your alignment. Bettering your posture is relatively easy, and if you follow a few easy steps, you’ll be on your way to a healthier spine. Here are five quick tips to help you succeed:

1. Work those abs

A strong core helps to support your spine, so losing extra weight in your midsection greatly improves your posture problems. Exercise also keeps your muscles and joints healthy, both of which are needed to maintain good posture. 

2. Stand up tall

It’s no surprise that you probably slouch at some point throughout the day. However, slouching isn’t good for your body at all, so stand or sit up tall. Not only does straightening out help you feel better, it also helps you feel taller and even thinner. You can achieve this by pulling your belly in and straightening your shoulders. Keep your knees straight, and you’ve got it! 

3. Don’t look down at electronics

These days, we use our cell phones for just about everything. However, constantly looking down at your phone puts a lot of strain on your neck. Over time, this leads to chronic issues like neck stiffness and headaches. To avoid this, keep your phone up at eye level instead of down in your lap, and make sure to stretch your neck throughout the day.

4. Ditch the heels

Although cute stilettos look great, they certainly aren’t good for your body. High heels cause over-arching of your back, which, in turn, causes pain. They also shift your weight to your knees, which also causes problems like pain and misalignment. Wearing a shorter, thicker wedge is better, but in moderation.

5. Use the right pillow

Whether you’re just taking a cat nap, or you’re down for the night, improper sleep positions can really aggravate your spine. When you’re lying down, make sure it’s on a firm mattress that helps keep your spine in alignment. Also, choose a pillow that’s made for the way you sleep — either side or back. You should avoid sleeping on your stomach, as it isn’t good for your spine.

By following these tips, you greatly decrease your chances of problems down the road with your spine and joints.

If you’re suffering from chronic pain because of poor posture, Dr. Conliffe can help. Call our office at 502-771-1012, or book an appointment online today.

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