Do you maintain your posture correctly throughout the day or slouch frequently? Have you been experiencing aches and pains in your back or neck? Poor posture is the probable cause. Not to worry, poor posture can be corrected or improved with physical therapy. If you are suffering from poor posture, the highly experienced team at Modern Massage and Chiropractic in Scottsdale, AZ, can help. Our chiropractors and massage therapists work with you to ensure you feel better by identifying the underlying cause and severity of your poor posture to improve your quality of life and help you lead a pain-free life. Contact us today to learn how we can help you correct your posture.

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What Is Posture?

Posture is how you hold your body in a position that protects against excessive stress while requiring minimal muscular effort to maintain. Your posture should be in a comfortable position that does not irritate your spinal tissues or compromise your musculoskeletal health. When you have a good posture, your spine is well aligned, allowing your bones, ligaments, and muscles to stack and move properly. It also allows proper blood circulation and breathing. This leads to good balance and the ability to function normally when performing various activities such as walking, lifting, running, or standing for prolonged durations.

When you have a good standing posture, you should not be rigid or stiff; you should stand loosely and be flexible with your: 

  • Straight back
  • Head up, chin in, and looking straight ahead
  • Relaxed shoulders
  • Tummy in
  • Balanced weight evenly on your two feet
  • Knees straight

When sitting, your knees should make a right angle, your feet on the floor, and your back should rest against the back of the chair. You should avoid crossing your legs. When you maintain a good posture, it helps prevent back, muscle, and neck pain.

There are two types of posture:

  • Static posture: This is how you hold yourself when you move, such as when you are standing, sitting, or sleeping.
  • Dynamic posture: This is how you hold yourself when you are in motion, such as running, walking, or bending.

It is essential to sit and stand straight to keep your spine correctly aligned. When you have bad posture, your spine suffers from excess stress, which puts extra pressure on the surrounding nerves and vertebrae. This results in a misaligned spine that can cause chronic spinal pain and decreased quality of life.

The position of your spine is crucial in having a good posture. Your spine consists of three natural curves at the neck, mid-back, and lower back, and a good posture should maintain these curves without increasing them. Your head should be positioned above your shoulder, with the top of your shoulder being above your hips.

Signs of Bad Posture

Whether you are lifting an object or lying down, it has to do with your posture and how your body is being held up. A poorly aligned posture can leave you with symptoms in your entire body. If your posture is off, you may experience the following signs and symptoms: 

  • Fast-tracking arthritis in the weight-bearing joints (such as ankles, knees, or hips)
  • Chronic headaches and migraines
  • A misaligned head, leaning forward 
  • Shoulder and back pain
  • Poor circulation
  • Bent knees when standing or walking
  • Breathing problems
  • Fatigue 
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Tilted pelvis
  • Hunched back
  • Mood issues 
  • Brain fog
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Difficulty digesting your food, constipation, and gastrointestinal pain
  • Rounded shoulders
  • Jaw pain
  • Potbelly
  • Body aches and pains

What Causes Bad Posture?

Most people’s posture changes over time, and they barely notice until they start having muscle aches and pains in their necks and backs. You can have bad posture for various reasons, with the most common being improper repetitive motions every day that may make you feel like you are stuck in an incorrect position, including: 

  • Sitting for long periods of time
  • Rolling shoulders forward
  • Sitting for long periods of time
  • Staring down at your cell phone
  • Sleeping in poor positions
  • Driving for long periods of time

Overuse and underuse of muscles can affect the body’s ability to maintain a proper posture. When you have poor posture, your joints, tendons, muscle, and ligaments become excessively strained. Ligaments and other spinal structures overstretch, leading to the development of chronic pain. It also results in weak core muscles that are required to keep you healthy and upright. 

The muscles in your back, abdominal wall, hips, shoulders, pelvic floor, and buttocks play a crucial part in your posture. Some weak muscles may contribute to your posture (even when you exercise regularly), which may affect your core. Poor posture can result in chronic conditions as you age, which can wreak havoc on your entire body. Additionally, health conditions such as arthritis can weaken one or more of the supportive structures that support your body and affect your posture. 

Some people may be born with genetic conditions affecting the shape of their hips and spine, which may influence their spine from birth. With time, these conditions may be managed to minimize their effects on posture over time. 

Injuries from various activities or sports can affect your posture when the body tries to protect itself from further injury. 

The following factors may influence your posture: 

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Obesity
  • Abnormally tight muscles
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pregnancy
  • High-heeled shoes or poor choice of footwear
  • Weak postural muscles
  • Decreased flexibility
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Poor working conditions 

Can Poor Posture Affect My Health?

If you have poor posture, it can significantly affect your health. When you slouch or slump, it can: 

  • Misalign your musculoskeletal system
  • Wear away your spine, making it more fragile and prone to injury
  • Leads to chronic neck, shoulder, and back pain
  • Affect the ability of joint movement
  • Decreased range of motion or flexibility
  • Affect balance and increase the risk of falls and trips
  • Poor sleep
  • It can increase feelings of depression, unhappiness, and lack of motivation
  • Lower energy levels

Tips for Posture Correction

When you learn good postural habits, you can reduce the chances of neck and back injuries, minimize spinal degeneration and keep your spine healthy. Correcting your posture involves various approaches, and most factors affecting your posture can be fixed. For example, if you sit for long hours while working in the office, you can use a standing desk to improve your posture. A standing desk can prevent your spine from bending and reduce the excess load on your spine. 

Generally, the exercises best suited for you depend on the specifics of your posture depending on what affected your posture. The following tips can help improve your posture:

  • Exercise regularly to strengthen your postural muscles. Certain types of exercises can be more helpful such as yoga, tai chi, and exercises that strengthen your core (muscles around your back, abdomen, and pelvis).
  • Stay mindful of your posture when performing daily activities
  • When lying down at night, use a good mattress to support good posture. If you are suffering from back pain, it is best to sleep on your side or back to take off some pressure from your back.
  • When sitting for long durations, keep your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest (if unable to reach the ground).
  • When standing, try to bear most of your weight at the balls of your feet, and if standing for long periods, shift your weight around. Shift your weight from your toes to your heels to reduce stress on your feet.
  • Wear comfortable footwear. Avoid high-heeled shoes because they throw off your balance and make you walk differently, resulting in stress in your muscles and posture
  • Maintain a healthy weight to avoid problems with your pelvis, spine, and abdominal muscles from excess weight.
  • Keep stretching your muscles gently to relieve muscle tension.
  • Ensure your workplace ergonomics are comfortable when sitting or standing. Take frequent breaks and take brief walks at your office, and switch positions often.
  • Relax your shoulders and avoid pulling them backward.
  • Avoid crossing your legs and keep your feet on the floor, and your ankles should be in front of your knees
  • Keep your back fully supported with a back pillow. You can use another type of support if your chair doesn’t have a backrest.
  • Keep your elbows close to your body, bent at an angle between 90 and 120 degrees.
  • Ensure your thighs and hips are well supported by sitting on a well-padded seat with your hips and thighs parallel to the floor.

How Modern Massage and Chiropractic Can Help Improve Your Posture

Our chiropractic adjustments can help realign your spine if you have a bad posture. We understand that every person is unique, which is why we customize treatment plans. We address the root cause of your pain to ensure you get relief and alleviate the need for painkillers. Our core strengthening exercises and chiropractic adjustments are beneficial in improving posture, and we will also recommend lifestyle changes to keep your posture in check. 

Contact Modern Massage and Chiropractic for more information on how we can relieve your pain with a better posture.