6 Tips for Improving Posture (and Relieving Pain)

6 Tips for Improving Posture (and Relieving Pain)

You’ve heard about how bad posture is wrecking your health, but that’s not enough information. Here, we review how poor posture can lead to chronic pain and six simple tips that can make a big difference.

Back pain, sore neck, achy shoulders, painful hips, and even indigestion are just a few of the consequences of bad posture. We’re sure we’re not the first to tell you that no good can come from bad posture, but we want to expand on this idea a little bit.

In this month’s blog post, Dr. Rajiv Sood and the team here at Spine & Orthopedic Center want to identify some of the risks of perennially poor posture and a few simple things to keep in mind moving forward.

Surprising and not-so-surprising effects of bad posture

When we refer to posture, we’re referring to the alignment in your spine, which affects your entire musculoskeletal structure. With proper posture, your spine is in a neutral position that has three natural curves along its length:

  1. An inward cervical curve
  2. An outward thoracic curve (upper back)
  3. An inward lumbar curve (lower back)

When you have bad posture, these curves are exaggerated, compressed, or forced in a different direction — all of which can lead to cascading problems, including pain in your:

Outside of musculoskeletal pain, poor posture can also lead to indigestion and constipation.

 How to improve your posture and relieve your pain

Now that we better understand what we’re up against let’s look at six ways in which you can greatly improve your posture and your comfort.

1. When you’re at your desk

If you work at a desk for hours each day, there’s a good rule of thumb for ensuring your posture is correct. Sit in your chair with both feet planted on the floor. Push your buttocks to the back of the chair. Now, pull your shoulders back so that they touch the back of the chair and arch your back. Now release this arch by about 10%-15%, which should put your spine in a good, neutral position.

2. Putting screen at eye level

Americans spend, on average, slightly more than seven hours looking at screens. Unfortunately, most of this screen time is looking down. One of the best ways to relieve the stress this puts on your cervical spine is to keep your screens at eye level. So, we know it’s a laptop, but get it out of your lap and onto something higher. And, when you’re on your phone, practice keeping it up.

3. Get up and move every hour

If you’re seated a good deal throughout the day, make it a rule to get up and move at least once an hour. You can set a timer to remind you.

4. Standing tall and proud

If you stand a good deal, do so in a tall and proud way. Stand with your shoulders back, your chest out, and your head up. This is called a power position for a reason, as you look like you can take on the world.

1. Don’t slouch on the couch

We know you just want to relax and watch a little TV in the evenings, but resist the urge to slouch. Keep your back straight against the back of the couch or lie on your side to watch your favorite show if you want to relax.

2. Sleep posture

Good posture while you sleep is also important, so ensure you have a mattress that supports your spine in a natural and straight position (not too firm or too soft). As important, don’t use pillows that crank your head up, but ones that keep your neck supported but straight.

You’ll be amazed at how much better your body will feel with a little extra attention to your posture.

If you have more questions about posture, please contact our Jonesboro, Georgia, office to schedule an appointment.