Having good posture when you sit and stand isn’t just about looking good. Your body is built around your spine, which works best when it’s in the position that nature intended. The S shape of the spine permits tremendous range of motion with strength and support for your entire musculoskeletal system.
When you suffer neck or lower back pain, poor posture could be a contributing factor, since it creates uneven loads on your spine, forcing muscles to work harder while pressing discs and vertebrae out of alignment. Bad posture alone is enough to create and sustain chronic pain issues.
The doctors of Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center in Phoenix, Arizona, are ready to help you solve your neck and back pain issues, and they’d be happy to help you avoid these problems altogether. Here are some reasons why your posture really matters as a foundation for healthy, pain-free living.
What is “good posture”?
To create a neutral spine, the position that defines good posture, sit with both feet flat on the floor, with balanced weight on your hips. Your shoulders should be over your hips, creating a “straight” back (your spine has its natural curves). Your head is upright and facing forward, with your ears directly over your collarbone.
When you stand, your upper body is in the same orientation, with your feet about shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent. Both positions should feel balanced and comfortable. Being aware of good posture and taking the time through the day to “reset” may be all you need to do to ensure minimal issues resulting from body position.
The benefits of good posture
Each time you move away from the neutral spine position, your body compensates to manage the new, unbalanced load. It’s a job that your body does well, as long as you avoid strain and return to neutral.
When you adopt poor posture, you’re creating chronically unbalanced loads, moving away from the naturally efficient rest position. Working toward good posture ideals helps you to achieve these benefits.
Reduced back and neck pain
The natural balance achieved with optimal posture allows your spine to work as intended. Loads stay balanced so the cushioning discs remain level and evenly absorb impact while maintaining the natural spaces through which nerves pass. Nerve compression is a common cause of neck and back pain.
Lower shoulder tension
Slouching postures put you into a head-forward position, adding strain to the neck and shoulder muscles. The weight of your head is substantial and good posture means that your spine supports its weight, not the muscles of your shoulders. You’ll notice fewer tension headaches.
Prolonged joint health
Osteoarthritis often develops from wear and tear caused by joints working inefficiently. Some people don’t realize that every vertebrae is part of a joint with its neighbors. Like your knees and hips, these facet joints in your spine can develop osteoarthritis and poor posture could hasten the process.
These are just a few of the benefits gained through neutral spine posture. You could realize greater lung capacity, better digestion, and higher energy levels. If you need help getting over existing back pain so you can work toward refining your posture, contact Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center today.