Do you suffer from joint or muscle pain, headaches, and a general sense that your body has lost flexibility and movement? Chances are, it could be a posture issue.
Your body is made of three different muscle groups: agonist, antagonist, and synergist muscles. The agonist muscles move the body with the help of the synergist muscles, and the antagonist muscles provide tension that keeps us erect and reduces the work that the agonist muscles are doing.
When your posture is straight, and the spine has a proper curve, the head is balanced, and the muscles do a fraction of the work they do when you are leaning forward. When we have poor posture, we are making ALL the muscles work harder, and we increase the tissue damage that can lead to joint pain and a host of other complications.
5 Ways to Improve Your Posture
Since posture is so clearly important to overall health, it is essential that you take steps to make sure that you improve and maintain good posture.
Here are five ways to keep good posture:
- While sitting: Today’s ergonomic swivel chairs make it tempting to recline, but putting your feet on the floor, rolling back from the slouch, and keeping the head above your shoulders encourages your spine to be in the proper position. Ensure that you are not rigid and that your back is supported but maintains a proper curve. Also, try not to sit for longer than 30 minutes without changing position or taking a standing break.
- Avoid “text neck”: If you spend a lot of time on your phone, even if you are standing or walking, we tend to look down at our devices. Apps are built to keep our attention, and hours can slip by unnoticed. Make sure you are lifting the phone and moving your eyes rather than craning your neck to look down at the phone. Also, as with being seated, watch the amount of time you engage with the phone and take breaks.
- Walking and exercising: Most people do not naturally have good posture when walking. We tend to lean or hunch to change our center of gravity. Try to consciously straighten your shoulders and look up rather than down while walking. It is definitely a temptation to look at the phone while strolling, but it is dangerous for your spine as well as increasing the likelihood of a fall or other accident.
- Driving: When on long trips, do not let the seat overly recline. Consider using lumbar support to force the curve of your spine and elevate the seat, so you are more or less straight while driving. Keep your head straight ahead and minimize distractions while driving, such as the phone or stereo/dash system, and keep your hands at the proper ten and two o’clock positions.
- Sleeping: Many of us make poor decisions about sleeping positions, putting undue strain on the neck and vertebrae. If you are able to sleep on your side with a proper pillow firmly supporting your neck, this can drastically reduce the strain on the spine and make it easier to have a healthier posture during your waking hours.
If you or a loved one are suffering from muscle pain related to poor posture and would like to find relief in Bakersfield, Shafter, Arvin, or any surrounding city in California, call Envista Medical at (661)-587-0700.