Mayo Clinic Q and A: Proper posture and body alignment

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My grandmother lives with me, and she is at all times nagging me to “stand up straight” and “put your shoulders back.” She says good posture will preserve me healthy as I age. But I’m solely 17. Does it actually matter if I’m slouching a bit?

ANSWER: Though it might appear annoying, your grandmother is right in that good posture helps good health. And beginning good habits now, although it requires acutely aware effort, might help you all through your life.

Proper body alignment might help forestall extra pressure in your joints, muscle tissues and backbone assuaging ache and decreasing the chance of harm. As a bonus, right posture can increase your productiveness and temper, in addition to allow you to use your muscle tissues extra effectively. And beginning good habits now can final a lifetime when they’re wanted most.

You could surprise what does correct posture appear to be? Use the “wall test” to seek out out:

  • Stand in order that the again of your head, your shoulder blades and your buttocks contact the wall, and your heels are 2 to 4 inches from the wall.
  • Put a flat hand behind the small of your again. You ought to have the ability to simply barely slide your hand between your decrease again and the wall for an accurate decrease again curve.
  • If there’s an excessive amount of house behind your decrease again, draw your stomach button towards your backbone. This flattens the curve in your again and gently brings your decrease again nearer to the wall.
  • If there’s too little house behind your decrease again, arch your again simply sufficient in order that your hand can slide behind you.
  • Walk away from the wall whereas holding a correct posture. Then return to the wall to examine whether or not you stored an accurate posture.

Unfortunately, ideally suited posture usually is the exception relatively than the rule. Poor posture can have an effect on you from head to toe, contributing to a number of issues irrespective of your age.

These are among the many most typical issues ensuing from poor posture:

  • Headache.
    Poor posture can pressure the muscle tissues in the back of your head, neck, higher again and jaw. This can put pressure on close by nerves and set off what are referred to as tension-type or muscle-spasm complications.
  • Back and neck ache.
    Pain and tightness or stiffness within the again and neck could be as a consequence of harm and different circumstances, comparable to arthritis, herniated disks and osteoporosis, however poor posture is a standard contributor. Though hardly ever life-threatening, again and neck ache could be continual and scale back your high quality of life.
  • Knee, hip and foot ache.
    Muscle weak spot; tightness or imbalances; lack of flexibility; and poor alignment of your hips, knees and toes could forestall your kneecap, or patella, from sliding easily over your femur. The ensuing friction could cause irritation and ache within the entrance of the knee, a situation referred to as patellofemoral ache. Poor foot and ankle alignment can also contribute to plantar fasciitis, a situation by which the thick band of tissue connecting your heel to the ball of your foot turns into infected and causes heel ache.
  • Shoulder ache and impingement.
    Your rotator cuff is a gaggle of muscle tissues and tendons that join your higher arm to your shoulder. Muscle tightness, weak spot or imbalances related to poor posture could cause the tendons in your rotator cuff to turn into irritated and trigger ache and weak spot. A ahead, hunched posture can also trigger these tendons to turn into pinched, or impinged. Eventually, this may result in a tear within the rotator cuff tissue, a extra severe harm that may trigger important ache and weak spot, and restrict your means to hold out day by day actions.
  • Jaw ache.
    A ahead head posture could pressure the muscle tissues underneath your chin and trigger your temporomandibular, or TMJ, joint to turn into overworked. This could lead to ache, fatigue and popping in your jaw, in addition to problem opening your mouth, complications and neck ache.
  • Fatigue and respiration issues.
    Poor postural habits could limit your rib cage and compress your diaphragm. This can scale back lung capability, resulting in shallow or labored respiration, fatigue and lack of power, which may have an effect on your general productiveness.

Tips to enhance your posture

Here are 3 ways to improve your posture whereas standing, sitting and mendacity in mattress:

  1. While strolling, stand tall. Inhale, roll your shoulders up and again, then exhale and roll your shoulders down, as in case you are gently tucking your shoulder blades into your again pockets.
  2. Try seated pelvic tilts. Sit on the sting of a chair, place your fingers in your thighs and relaxation your toes on the ground. Inhale and rock your pelvis and ribs ahead when you open your chest and look upward. Exhale, rock your pelvis and backbone again and look down towards the ground.
  3. Do a wake-up or bedtime bridge pose. Lie in your again in mattress together with your knees bent and your toes resting on the mattress. Inhale, then slowly exhale and curl your tailbone to raise your buttocks and backbone, one vertebra at a time, till your shoulder blades bear your weight. Pause and inhale, then slowly exhale as you roll your backbone again down.

Improving your posture might help forestall or reverse many circumstances. You’ll be amazed to see how your high quality of life can enhance just by standing somewhat taller. Compiled by Mayo Clinic staff

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