How to Fix Bad Posture
“Straighten up!” You’ve likely heard this many times from your chiropractor, your massage therapist, physiotherapist or even your mom. Why is everyone so focussed on good posture, and why is it so hard to fix?
Posture is about more than how you look, it can affect so many different aspects of your health! It can contribute to neck and low back pain, headaches, and even jaw pain.
Our modern-day lifestyle does not do us any favours – between smartphones, the imbalanced work postures or student life, and our tendency to sit too much, we put ourselves at risk of developing joint pain and specific muscle imbalances. That is why it is important to become more aware and be proactive about improving posture.
Once you become more aware of your sitting and standing posture, you can start to identify bad habits you can replace with good habits. Do you cross your legs when you sit? Do you tend to sit with your wallet in your back pocket? Do you stand with most of your weight on one leg?
Here are some handy tips from the American Chiropractic Association:
How to sit properly:
- Keep your feet on the floor or on a footrest, if they don’t reach the floor.
- Don’t cross your legs. Your ankles should be in front of your knees.
- Keep a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat.
- Your knees should be at or below the level of your hips.
- Adjust the backrest of your chair to support your low- and mid-back or use a back support.
- Relax your shoulders and keep your forearms parallel to the ground.
- Avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time.
How to stand properly:
- Bear your weight primarily on the balls of your feet.
- Keep your knees slightly bent.
- Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Let your arms hang naturally down the sides of the body.
- Stand straight and tall with your shoulders pulled backward.
- Tuck your stomach in.
- Keep your head level-your earlobes should be in line with your shoulders. Do not push your head forward, backward, or to the side.
- Shift your weight from your toes to your heels, or one foot to the other, if you have to stand for a long time.
In addition to a visual assessment, our chiropractors use technology to assess your posture and track your progress. You will be given a print out of your postural analysis and an explanation of what your results mean in the context of your symptoms.
A common question patients ask once they realize the importance of good posture is if they should start using a posture brace. Our answer: no! While it can help in the short term, our goal is to create long-lasting results that are not dependent on external devices. That means that the right exercises, combined with chiropractic adjustments, physiotherapy or massage therapy, are the way to go. We aim to empower you with the tools you need to work towards your health goals.
Optimal posture protects our bodies from unnecessary wear and tear. To book your postural assessment, call 613.860.8600 for our Byward location, and 613.237.9000 for our Glebe location.