Slouching? Back Pain? Here’s How to Correct Your Bad Posture
Bad posture seems to be a constant concern for many people who spend days sitting at desks and bent down looking at their phones.
Because a lot of the posture we consider to be “everyday” and “routine” is actually poor posture, which puts pressure and strain on the neck, shoulders, and lower back and can lead to back pain.
If you suspect you have bad posture, here’s what you can do to correct it without buying expensive ergonomic devices:
Make Small Changes
Correcting everyday bad posture doesn’t have to mean adding a whole slate of exercises to your daily routine. Instead, look for small ways you can tweak what you do and how you sit, stand, and lie down to improve your posture.
If you spend a large portion of your day sitting at a desk – as many of us do – take frequent breaks to stand up, stretch, and move around.
Part of what leads to poor posture is weak muscles in the core and lower back, and too much sitting can contribute to weak muscles. Taking breaks to stand and stretch helps keep those muscles limber and less likely to become injured.
Additionally, monitor how much time you spend looking down at your phone on a daily basis. If you must spend time on your phone, try to position yourself and your phone at a more comfortable angle so you aren’t spending hours per day with your chin near your chest.
Watch How You Sleep
A lot of how you hold yourself during your waking hours has to do with how you sleep, even though that seems counter-intuitive.
Sleeping on your stomach, or curled in the fetal position on your side, puts extra stress and strain on your spine and back muscles. This can lead to pain and weakness in these muscles, contributing to poor posture.
Do your best to sleep on your back or your side without curving your spine. If necessary, consider finding a different pillow or reevaluating your mattress to put you in a more comfortable sleeping position that doesn’t strain your back or neck.
Build Strength & Flexibility
Working to improve your posture by strengthening your key muscles doesn’t have to take a long time each day.
While you certainly can – and should, for a variety of important reasons – begin a regular routine of exercise to strengthen your core and back, you don’t need to commit yourself to hours in the gym each week to see gains in your posture.
Instead, take a few minutes every few days to help increase your overall flexibility and strength, improving your posture over time.
Some moves you can add to your routine daily or as you feel you need them include:
- Child’s pose: Get on the floor on your knees, then reach your arms in front of you. Slowly drop your hips down toward your heels, stretching your spin as you descend as far as you can. Take several deep breaths before rising.
- Hip hinges: Stand with your back about 6 inches from a wall and your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend forward at the waist, keeping your back flat, as far as you can without rounding your back. Return to standing, and do 10 repetitions of this movement.
- Plank: This move will help strengthen the core muscles and back, improving posture and balance. Get on your hands and knees, placing either your hands or your elbows on the floor. Stretch your feet straight out behind you and raise yourself up on your elbows or hands. Keep your back flat with your knees below your hips, and hold for 20 seconds.
Adjust How You Sit & Stand
Once you’ve worked to strengthen your muscles and improve flexibility, you can work to adjust how you sit and stand so that, over time, you have better posture.
When standing, practice standing upright with your shoulders relaxed and pulled back slightly. Imagine a piece of string gently pulling your head toward the ceiling.
Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees, tucking in your stomach. And, if you must stand for long periods of time, occasionally shift your weight from your toes to your heels, or from one foot to the other, to avoid putting too much strain and pressure on any one part of your body.
When sitting, you also want to imagine that invisible string pulling your head toward the ceiling, relaxing your shoulders.
Choose a chair that allows you to keep your feet planted on the floor – not crossing your legs – and your knees level or slightly higher than your hips. Also, when positioning your computer monitor, do your best to keep it at eye level so your neck isn’t bent forward or backward.
Chiropractic Care for Back Pain in Frederick, MD
Do you suffer from back pain or another effect of poor posture? Chiropractic can help! Let Lipinski Chiropractic design an individualized treatment plan to meet your specific needs and get you feeling better – faster. Call today for an appointment!