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Tag: Posture Health

Why teens should sit up straight

Why teens should sit up straight

How many times did you hear, “Sit up straight!” as a child? How many times have you said this to your own child? There’s  a reason behind that famous advice: poor posture early in life may lead to a number of back problems and pain later on. That’s why researchers conducted a study to better understand slouching in adolescents.

Researchers had 1,5092 adolescents complete questionnaires about their lifestyle and experience with back pain. Their sitting posture,  body mass index (BMI), and back-muscle endurance were also measured. Researchers discovered that boys were much more likely than girls to slouch. Watching TV, having a higher BMI, and having lower self-efficacy also increased a teen’s likelihood of slouching.

Teens who slouched also tended to have lower back-muscle endurance and non-neutral standing position. Some teens noticed their back pain increased while sitting, and those teens often had poorer scores on a child-behavior test.

These findings suggest that whether or not a child slouches isn’t simply about whether they remember to sit up straight. Encouraging healthy lifestyle habits and a strong self-esteem could also play a big role in helping your teen develop good posture. A doctor of chiropractic can evaluate your child’s sitting and standing posture to help them avoid future back pain.

O’Sullivan PB, Smith AJ, Beales DJ, Straker LM. “Association of Biopsychosocial Factors With Degree of Slump in Sitting Posture and Self-Report of Back Pain in Adolescents: A Cross-Sectional Study.” Physical Therapy 91.4 (2011): 470-83.

Good Posture: The “800-Pound Gorilla” of Health and Wellness

Good Posture: The “800-Pound Gorilla” of Health and Wellness

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Good posture isn’t exactly a high priority for many Americans. For millions of us, the number-one priority is working to provide for our families—and sitting all day at a desk is how we achieve that. However, poor posture while sitting at work for many hours every day can actually lead to poor posture while standing the rest of the time—and that’s a more serious problem than one might think.

A Wall Street Journal article entitled “How Bad Sitting Posture at Work Leads to Bad Standing Posture All the Time” talks at length about this phenomenon.  Allston Stubbs, an orthopedic surgeon at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center who treats patients with back or joint pain, puts it this way: “[Posture] is probably the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to health and wellness…  We see the spine and overall skeletal structure being critical to a patient’s functionality and their satisfaction with their life and health care.”

This means that many Americans’ habit of sitting all day with no thought to their posture has severe consequences—without good posture, many people can develop serious neck, shoulder, and back pain, leading to a sharp decline in their quality of life. Sitting all day with poor posture can lead to muscular back pain, herniated discs, and even pinched back nerves.

Poor sitting posture can also cause tension headaches, diminished breathing, and fatigue. It can even make you look older, according to the LA Sentinel. “Never underestimate the beauty and health benefits of good posture. Often poor posture is just a bad habit that is easily corrected. Poor posture not only makes you look older, but could be the first step toward dowager’s hump, double chin, potbelly, and swayback as well as some internal problems too. When a person is hunched over or not standing straight, that person may be perceived as older than they actually are. Good posture is not only beneficial to your body; it also makes you look taller and slimmer. What’s more, good posture can convey self-confidence, which may just be the best accessory you can have.”

Additionally, good posture is essential for a healthy spine. It can reduce or eliminate back (and shoulder and neck) pain, and it can even improve your mood.

However, there are millions of people today who simply have not learned what good posture is—and it’s not standing rigid, with shoulders thrown back, as many may have learned in childhood. Rather, as the WSJ articles says, “Good posture doesn’t just mean standing with the shoulders thrown back. More important is maintaining good alignment, with ears over the shoulders, shoulders over hips, and hips over the knees and ankles. Body weight should be distributed evenly between the feet.”

While workplace-related posture problems are getting a lot of attention in the media these days, the importance of good sitting posture to office workers’ health is hardly news to the U.S. government. The United States’ Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) offers a number of tips for good sitting posture, including keeping your head in line with your torso as well as keeping your elbows close to your body and your thighs and hips parallel to the floor. OSHA also recommends using a well-padded seat, keeping your shoulders relaxed, and making sure your forearms, wrists and hands are straight and well-aligned.

 

When it Comes to Posture, the Little Things Matter. Like Sitting on Your Wallet…

When it Comes to Posture, the Little Things Matter. Like Sitting on Your Wallet…

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You know the big things that impact your posture, such as the height of your keyboard or whether you slouch on the couch, but it’s easy to overlook the little things. By the way, where is your wallet right now? If it’s currently in your back pocket, we need to have a talk…

Little Things Matter When it Comes to Posture

Your wallet fits so perfectly in your back pocket. Certainly it can’t hurt to keep it there, right? Unfortunately, sitting on your wallet can cause a host of posture problems, which can lead to pain in your back, shoulders, and neck. When half of your posterior is higher than the other, your pelvis twists, the spine becomes misaligned, and your shoulders have a tendency to slump. This isn’t good, but there is a simple solution: just keep your wallet in the front!

Now that your wallet is in the right place, it’s time to look at your feet. What kind of shoes are you wearing? If you’re a woman wearing high heels, think about giving your back a break. Tall heels put you off balance, which your body compensates for by flexing at the hips and spine. The forward curve in your lower back decreases, your knees are stressed, and the muscles in your back, hips, and calves tense. All of this can lead to poor posture and back pain. Switch to flats to solve the problem.

Guys, you aren’t off the hook in the footwear department. If it’s been a while since you’ve bought a new pair of shoes, take a closer look at your soles. Wear and tear in this area can throw off your gait, leading to posture issues and—you guessed it—back pain. Maybe it’s time for some replacements…

Women with large breasts might find it particularly difficult to maintain proper posture. This is more likely to be true without the support of a proper bra. If this situation is causing you to slouch or experience back or shoulder pain, consider looking into a posture bra. These bras have bands that are designed to carry your chest’s weight, reducing pull on the shoulder straps and allowing you to sit or stand straight and without strain.

Do you carry a heavy bag or purse with you? If you’re constantly carrying a heavy weight on one side of your body, you are also constantly shifting to the side to compensate, which can lead to back pain and even nerve trauma. Take some time to clean out your bag, and try to alternate the side you carry it on to reduce the damage.

Correcting the Damage

Life is full of little things that can lead to poor posture and pain, many of which you might not be aware of. Consulting with a chiropractor can help you gain a better understanding of how your daily life affects the way you sit and stand. If your posture has already been compromised or you are already experiencing back or neck pain, chiropractic care can also help to correct it. With expert guidance and a few changes, little problems can stop being a big deal.