Keep Your Posture in Check With These Helpful Tips
Poor posture isn’t just a threat to your typical office worker. Those who lift heavy objects or drive for a living can also suffer the harmful effects of poor posture. A few common types of posture problems include:
- Forward head posture – An issue faced by office workers everywhere, forward head posture results from bending the head forward for long periods of time. This overstresses the upper back muscles, irritates the neck joints and causes pain throughout the upper torso and neck.
- Hunchback posture – Both working at a desk and driving a car involve sitting with your arms extended forward for long periods of time. This tightens the chest muscles and weakens the upper back muscles, causing your back to round and your shoulders to roll forward.
- Lifting with the back – Although often repeated, it is all too easy to forget to bend down with your knees instead of leaning over with your back when lifting something. While picking up light objects with our backs often doesn’t have immediate negative consequences (although it’s definitely possible), it builds up poor lifting habits that can carry over to the next couch or table that you move.
Improving your posture
Tip #1 – If you’re unsure of what good back posture feels like, imagine there is a balloon tied to the center of your chest. Now lift the balloon toward the ceiling. This should be your neutral position to avoid developing poor posture.
Tip #2 – If you spend long periods of time sitting because you drive for a living, work at a desk, or regularly engage in other sedentary activities, taking stretch breaks is one of the best things you can do to avoid poor posture. Specifically, stretching your hip flexors, hamstrings and chest muscles will counter many of the ill effects of prolonged sitting.
Tip #3 – In order to build good lifting habits, discipline yourself to lift all objects (not just heavy ones) by bending your knees instead of your back. These habits will continue the next time you move something heavy, and you’ll be less likely to have a back injury.
If you feel your posture has caused you pain and would like more information, or if you’d like to make an appointment, call our office at (208) 944-0056.