Good posture is more than standing up straight so you look your best. Proper posture is an important factor in your long-term health. It helps keep bones and joints in correct alignment so bones carry the weight of your body, not your muscles. Proper alignment prevents muscle spasm, and decreases the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that can lead to degenerative arthritis. It can also help prevent nerve pain, headaches, joint pain, and other health problems.
The key to good posture is the position of your spine. Make sure you hold your body the right way, whether you are moving or still. Proper posture means your head should be above your shoulders, and the top of your shoulders should be over the hips.
Here are some tips for how to hold your body in different positions:
Standing – stand up straight, shoulders back, put your weight mostly on your heels, arms hang down at sides, and feet shoulder width apart (one foot slightly in front of the other, knees slightly bent).
Sitting - keep your knees slightly lower than your hips, feet on the floor, head up, and your back straight (avoid rolling your shoulders forward – slouching.)
Lifting – squat down, bend at hips and knees, and avoid twisting while lifting. If the item is too heavy to lift, pushing it is easier on your back than pulling it. Whenever possible, use your legs, not your back or upper body, to push the item.
Sleeping – on your side is best, draw your legs up slightly toward your chest and put a pillow between your legs. Sleeping on your back puts approximately 50 pounds of pressure on your spine. If you must sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees while lying on your back (this cuts the pressure on your spine roughly in half.)
Society’s love for phones and tablets has also created some poor posture habits. When using your device for texting, scrolling, watching videos, etc. be conscious of your posture. The American Chiropractic Association recommends that you rest your elbow on your abdomen and hold the phone straight out in front of your eyes. Do not look down to see your screen.
If you are experiencing low back pain, spinal problems, headaches, or neck pain, it might be a good time to seek help from a chiropractor.
Locally, Mille Lacs Health System offers Chiropractic Care at two locations. If you’d like to schedule an appointment at Isle Clinic call 320-676-3661, or for Milaca Chiropractic and Physical Therapy call 320-983-2728.