Poor Posture Affects Your Joints
Stand up straight! Your joints depend on it!
Everyone slouches and has bad posture from time to time. We all know it's bad for us, but sometimes it's just easier, more comfortable. However, do you now just how bad it can be for you?
Bad posture can really cause problems for your joints if it's not addressed. It can even cause injuries.
Just to list a few, here are the top 5 most common:
Top 5 Injuries Related to Poor Posture
Postural issues are a big contributor to many different injuries. Poor posture itself can be caused by many things, but in most cases, a very sedentary lifestyle, poor training techniques and the use of high heels, etc. are the main culprits.
Injuries related to poor posture tend to be overuse injuries which build up over a period of time, rather than the more sudden, acute form of injury. Here are some of the most common:
Shoulder impingement injuries occur when the space in the shoulder joint is decreased, resulting in pinching of one or more of the tendons which pass through this space.
The reason for the decrease in space is often related to poor posture.
If the chest muscles are tight and the upper back muscles such as the lower Trapezius and the Serratus Anterior are weak, through extended periods of sitting slouched at a desk, then this can cause the shoulder joint to sit in a forwards position.
Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain has many different causes and often the cause of an individual's pain cannot be pin-pointed.
In cases where the pain develops gradually with no history of trauma or overuse, the problem may be due to poor posture. Having poor posture places extra strain on the muscles and ligaments which support the lower back. This causes certain muscles to over-work and results in muscle spasms and sometimes muscle strains.
The most common postural factors to result in lower back pain include a leg length difference, overpronation and pelvic tilts which result in an arched lower back.
Patellofemoral Knee Pain
Often also referred to as anterior knee pain, this condition is an overuse injury which results in non-specific pain at the front of the knee, often aggravated by walking down stairs or hills and getting up after sitting for long periods (movie-goers knee).
It is most common in women, due to a wider pelvis, resulting in an increased angle between the thigh bone and patella tendon (Q angle), at the knee.
Other postural factors which can contribute include overpronation at the feet and weakness in the hip abductors which both cause the knee to fall inwards.
Aching and stiffness in the shoulders and neck are an extremely common problem, especially for those involved in desk and computer working.
Whilst many will just 'get on with it' and others will perhaps seek a regular massage as treatment, the real cause tends to be postural. While seated, staring at a screen for hours on end, it is easy to fall into a slumped position, with rounded shoulders and the neck protruding forwards.
Assuming this position day-in, day-out can result in shortening of the chest muscles and weakening of the small, postural upper back and neck muscles which work to pull the shoulders back.
This results in the larger back and neck muscles such as Trapezius and the Rhomboids working harder and becoming tight and achy. Working on correcting these imbalances, by stretching the chest muscles and building endurance strength in the postural muscles such as the lower Trapz and Serratus Anterior can result in a long-term fix.
Sciatica is a symptom more than a condition, as it refers to pain which refers down the back of the legs, rather than to the cause of the pain.
The cause of Sciatica can be from the lumbar spine, where a disc is slipped and is compressing the sciatic nerve, or this compression can occur at the point where the sciatic nerve passes under (or through in some cases) the piriformis muscles in the buttocks. In this case, the muscle is often overworked and in spasm, resulting in compression on the nerve.
The causes of piriformis syndrome include leg length differences and muscle imbalances including tight groin muscles and weak hip abductors.
How To Practice Good Posture
Now, we’ve all heard the cautions growing up. Our mothers and grandmothers telling us to stand up straight and to stop slouching in our seats.
Although as children it seemed annoying, they were right to start us on an early track to good posture. In fact, practicing good posture can be just as important to your health as getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet or exercising regularly.
As you’ve read, bad posture can lead to loss of energy, chronic back, joint and muscular pain, headaches, bone and joint misalignment and put you at greater risk for injury.
When poor posture occurs frequently, the structure of your body can begin to change and adapt to the postural mistakes, leading to the pain and misalignment of your joints. Maintaining good posture allows your muscles and skeleton to work together to minimize the pressure on your joints.
What Does Good Posture Look Like?
- Stand up straight!
- Keep feet shoulder-width apart.
- Keep knees slightly bent.
- Put chest out and pull stomach inward.
- Keep your shoulders squared.
- Align your head with the neck and spine.
- Distribute weight evenly on the balls of your feet.
- Sit up straight!
- Align your back with the back of the chair (use an ergonomically designed chair whenever possible).
- Keep your feet on the ground or footrest, with ankles in front of your knees.
- Keep your shoulders squared and align your head with the neck, spine and heels.
- Stand up and stretch or walk around if sitting for long periods of time.
While Lying Down:
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
- If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs.
- If you sleep on your back, keep a pillow under your knees.
Maintaining a core workout a few days a week is also helpful in strengthening essential posture muscles like your abs, lower back and obliques. Yoga, martial arts, Tai chi and even ballroom dancing are known for promoting proper posture as well.
Posture Aid Devices
Do you work at a job that requires you to sit throughout the day? Sitting for prolonged periods of time may cause discomfort to your spine and ultimately lead to poor posture. Poor posture is a common occurrence for people that have sedentary jobs.
Most people may not realize that they are sitting in an incorrect position and over time, this may lead to many problems. However, the use of a posture aid/clavicle brace will help maintain the natural position of your back and shoulders. These braces offer support that corrects and promotes healthy posture.
The clavicle aspect of the brace immobilizes the clavicles to promote healing and comfort if a clavicle injury is sustained.
The brace also provides mobilization, so you are not too restricted in movement during daily activities.
When you start wearing a posture aid or clavicle brace, it will automatically correct your poor posture and helped relieve any pain that was caused from slumping forward at a desk all day.
Regardless if you suffer from back problems due to poor posture, a Posture Aid/Clavicle Brace is great for anyone.
Correct posture is an important aspect to maintaining good back health, decreasing back and shoulder pain, and improving overall quality of life.
Mayo Clinic. (2014). Nutrition. Retrieved from www.mayoclinic.org American Chiropractic Association. (2014). Nutrition. Retrieved from www.acatody.org Spine-Health. (2014). Wellness. Retrieved from www.spine-health.com
Author Credit: Heidi Mills BSc (Hons) is a Graduate Sports Rehabilitator who runs a clinic in Norwich (UK). She also works for the Virtual Sports Injury Clinic - http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Heidi_Mills