Spending long periods of time sitting at a desk, working on a laptop, or staring at a cell phone screen are not the best things we do every day for our health. All of these habits can lead to poor posture which can impact your overall health. You can end up with back and neck problems if you have poor posture. There are more risks of poor posture that you need to be aware of. On World Spine Day, celebrated on October 16, find out how bad posture can affect your health.
Posture refers to the position and alignment of the body when sitting, standing, or during any activity. It involves the arrangement of bones, muscles and joints in relation to each other, says Dr Smita Ingle, director of the physiotherapy, occupational therapy and rehabilitation center at Ruby Hall Clinic in Pune.
Causes of poor posture
Poor or poor posture can be caused by various factors. Some of them are:
• Prolonged periods of sitting
• Incorrect ergonomics
• Muscular weakness
• Habits such as slouching or hunching have formed over time.
Side effects of poor posture on the body
The effects of poor posture on the body are significant and can lead to various health problems.
Poor posture can lead to conditions like spondyloarthritis, which involves inflammation of the vertebrae and can cause chronic back pain and stiffness, the expert tells Health Shots.
Poor posture can strain your neck muscles. This can contribute to tension headaches and migraines. In most cases, the pain can be felt at the base of the skull. Sometimes this can be felt in the face, especially the forehead.
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3. Neck and back pain
It puts excessive pressure on the spine, leading to chronic pain and discomfort in the neck and back.
4. Carpal tunnel syndrome
Improper positioning of the wrist and hand during activities can lead to compression of the median nerve, causing numbness and pain in the hand and wrist.
Poor posture can contribute to overuse injuries, including tendinitis, which involves inflammation of the tendons, says Dr. Ingle.
6. Misaligned spine
Poor posture can also negatively impact the position of your spine. If you perform most of your daily activities with poor body mechanics, you may experience poor spinal alignment as well as muscle spasms.
When you sit on the toilet bending over with your knees lower than your hips, it can lead to constipation. This is because this style of sitting closes the anus and makes it more difficult for your abdominal muscles to help pass your stools.
8. Poor sleep
Bad posture can put your muscles in an uncomfortable position. If you can’t relax your body at night, you can move around to find a comfortable position for your back and neck. This can lead to poor sleep.
Tips for improving posture
Correcting your posture can help your body a lot. So, do the following.
1. Take regular breaks
Take short breaks to stand, stretch, and move around, especially during prolonged periods of sitting.
2. Adjust the ergonomics
Make sure your workstation is set up correctly, with proper chair height, monitor positioning and keyboard placement, the expert suggests.
Do exercises that will help strengthen your core muscles and, therefore, promote good posture. You can do yoga, Pilates and weight training.
4. Pay attention to body position
Pay attention to how you sit, stand, and move throughout the day. This means no more slouching or hunching.
5. Practice relaxation techniques
Techniques such as deep breathing and visualization can help relax your muscles and reduce tension.
Also avoid staying in the same position for too long. So, move from sitting to standing and adjust your posture frequently.