101 How to Fix Bad Posture (Know the Back Pain Symptoms & Side Effects)

101 How to Fix Bad Posture (Know the Back Pain Symptoms & Side Effects)

If you're like many of us, your mom has told you at some point to stand up straight. You may have just rolled your eyes and hunched over again but she was right, posture matters! But what exactly is posture and how can you fix bad posture? In this video, Dr. Blake and Patrick discuss bad posture side effects and how you can fix bad posture with quick and easy exercises that you can do at home. Our Lutherville-Timonium chiropractors are here to help if you have any questions.


What Is Posture?

Posture is simply the position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting, or lying down. When you hear “good posture” that means that the body is aligned correctly with the right amount of muscle tension. Whether you’re sitting, standing, running, walking, or lying down gravity is constantly exerting force on your muscles and joints and those muscles have to maintain the right amount of muscle tension to keep you from crumbling to the ground.

Posture is something we don’t typically think about consciously and that’s probably because we have certain muscles that handle it for us without us having to think about it. There are several groups of muscles that contribute to your posture and when any of these muscles are too tight they can create bad posture and cause pain.


What Is Correct Posture?

When you’re in a standing position with correct posture, your weight should sit primarily on the balls of your feet. Your knees will be bent slightly (not locked) and you want to keep your feet about shoulder-width apart. Allow your arms to naturally hang down by the sides of your body as you stand straight and tall with your shoulders pulled back. Your chin should remain parallel with the ground so that it is not pulling your head in any particular direction. It’s simply resting on top of your spinal column.

Many people have to consciously work on sitting with correct posture because they have developed so many bad habits. If you’re sitting properly your feet should be firmly planted on the floor, not crossed. Your ankles should be in front of your knees so make sure you aren’t sweeping them backward and tucking them behind your knees. You may be more comfortable using a backrest to support your low- and mid-back so don’t hesitate to use a back support. Relax your shoulders and keep your chin parallel to the ground.

Pay careful attention to your chin to avoid bad posture. Are you looking down at a screen or jutting your head forward? You may need to lift your screen so that it is more ergonomically correct and encourages correct posture.


Why Is Bad Posture So Bad?

Correct posture helps us keep bones and joints in correct alignment so that our muscles are used correctly, decreasing the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that can result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain. It also reduces the stress put on the ligaments that hold our spinal joints together, minimizing the likelihood of injury.

If you’re an active person and focused on challenging yourself physically, you should know that good posture allows your muscles to work more efficiently which in turn allows the body to lose less energy. All of that helps prevent muscle fatigue which is important for all of us but especially for those of us who are active.

Correct posture can also help to prevent muscle strain, back and muscle pain, and overuse injuries and disorders. In addition to all of these benefits, correct posture improves circulation and digestion. When you have incorrect posture, you compress your gastrointestinal system and this can produce bad posture side effects like acid reflux and constipation.

Our posture is often neglected but it does a lot for us. Many of us spend our days sitting at desks, sitting in our cars, and looking down at laptops and phones which can train our muscles to move into a forward head posture without us realizing it. The forward head posture, as you can see in the video, consists of hunched shoulders, a forward-jutting chin, and an upward tilted head. This posture is extremely common and bad posture side effects include neck, shoulder, and back pain in many of our patients.


How To Fix Bad Posture

The good news about bad posture is that it can be corrected and the pain caused by it can be treated. You can even get started at home! The first thing to do if you’re having neck, shoulder, or bad posture back pain symptoms is to use a foam roller at home to loosen the tissue in your neck and shoulders. In the video, Patrick demonstrates how to do this at home with just a foam roller.

Loosening the tissues in your neck and shoulders may be a bit uncomfortable, so don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t feel great immediately. If, however, you experience more pain after doing this you should see a chiropractor. Working on your neck, shoulders, and back can become a simple daily practice to loosen those muscles over time. If you’re wondering how to fix bad posture you’ll be happy to know that it doesn’t take long at all. For this exercise, we recommend spending about 40 seconds - 1 minute per muscle group for a total of 5-6 minutes per day.

Once you have loosened these muscles, you’ll begin to experience relief from those bad posture side effects and you can move on to working on your rotation by utilizing the Brettzel stretch demonstrated in the video. This stretch extends your muscles while simultaneously working on the rotation of your spine all in one simple stretch. You may find, as Dr. Blake did in this video, that you can’t fully extend your arm to the ground and that’s okay. Do what you can and reach just a little bit more each time to improve your spinal rotation.

Once the muscle tissue has been loosened and you’ve worked on your rotation you can move on to the straight thoracic spine extension. In the video above, you’ll see Patrick demonstrating an exercise you can do at home with a broom or dowel that will extend your thoracic spine. All you need to do is 6-8 reps of this exercise on a daily basis to get significant benefits from this simple exercise.

There are a myriad of things you can do to improve your posture and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all of the recommended exercises available. If you commit to doing the 3 simple exercises we’ve laid out in this post you’ll be on the road to improved posture, reduced back pain, and better spine health.

Need some help improving your posture? Click here to schedule your appointment!

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Kalkstein Chiropractic
200 East Joppa Road #300
Towson, MD 21286
(410) 296-7700