Proper posture is perhaps one of the most overlooked health hacks. While it may not seem like a big deal, poor posture can trigger back pain, exacerbate arthritis, contribute to breathing problems, and even cause constipation and dizziness.
Our team at Nebben Physical Medicine in Clarksville, Tennessee, led by Dr. John Bassell, has years of experience correcting the effects of bad posture, so we focus on educating our patients about the dangers of slouching.
Below is our guide to better posture, so you can start making better choices for yourself today.
Try not to slouch
Slouching adds to the stress on your spine, straining the bones, muscles, and joints that hold your backbone in place.
But your back isn’t the only part of your body in danger — a constant slump smashes your organs together, making it difficult for your lungs and intestines to work. Eventually, your posture interferes with your ability to digest food and breathe properly.
The simplest way to fix your posture? Straighten up and stand tall. Pretend you’re standing against a wall, measuring your height. Hold your head straight and tuck your chin in slightly. Check that your ears are over the middle of your shoulders.
Speaking of your shoulders, they should be rolled back. Your knees should be straight and your belly tucked in to engage your core.
Avoid letting your backside or hips stick out (we’re talking to you, parents of young children).
Don’t slouch at your desk
When you’re off your feet, you may think you’re off the hook as far as protecting your posture. But the same slouching dangers apply when you’re seated.
At your desk, sit all the way back in your chair. Roll up a soft towel and put it just behind your mid-back to support the natural curve in your spine. Make sure your knees are at a right angle and your feet are flat on the floor.
Beware of ‘tech neck’
Are you a serial social media scroller? A tenacious texter? Being hunched over a device all day puts you at risk of tech neck. Stretch out your neck a few times a day. And hold your smartphone at eye level so you don’t tilt your head downward and strain your neck.
Tuck your heels away
There are few things sexier and sleeker than a pair of high heels. But these types of shoes top our posture no-no list.
The abnormal heel height thrusts the base of your spine forward, causing your back to arch unnaturally. That can alter your backbone alignment and pressure the nerves in your spine, leading to back pain.
We recommend saving your favorite pair of heels for special occasions. Otherwise, wear comfortable shoes that provide support.
Practice good sleeping posture
Bedtime isn’t the time to slack. If you’re committed to correcting your posture, hit the hay the right way.
Soft, squishy mattresses may be luxurious, but a firm mattress is much better for your back.
If you’re a side sleeper, keep your knees bent and place a pillow under your head so it’s level with your spine. Back sleepers should opt for a thinner pillow to maintain alignment.
Crank up the core
One of the main reasons people struggle with posture is a weak core. Your core includes your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdominal muscles; one of the core’s main responsibilities is supporting your spine.
You don’t have to start a rigorous workout regimen to reap the benefits. Stay consistent and focus on exercises that target all areas of your core. Not sure where to begin? We can walk you through a few basic movements to get you started.
Get some support
It’s much easier to improve your health when someone is doing it with you. Find an accountability partner (or two or three) and remind each other when someone’s slouching.
A good start to improving your posture is figuring out what’s wrong in the first place.
There’s a quick way to tell. Place the back of your head against a wall and scoot your feet 6 inches from the baseboard. Your tush should touch the wall, and your lower back and neck should be about 2 inches from it.
If your posture is a problem, talk with our experts about the best way to fix it. Call our friendly staff or use our online booking tool to make your appointment today.