What is correct posture?

Lots of patients who have neck and shoulder problems and back pain, have an unclear understanding of correct posture.

Some of them, mostly men, think that they have to be tense in their upper back and shoulders to “hold themselves up”. This is to prevent and overcome rounded shouders and forward neck posture.

It’s very hard to dispel this myth of “tension”, because very often you been slouching your shoulders forward or tensing yourself up for many years to avoid the former.

It is worse if you have a stressful life or feel anxious, because this brings your shoulders even higher and stiffer, and you are very often unaware of it. This is a very common senario with shoulder, neck and back problems. Your body is perfectly designed to hold itself up without your conscious effort, so just let your shoulders drop back and lift the front of your chest forward for 1/2 inch keeping this lower back curved. This is your first step to perfect posture! It might be hard to achieve it immediately, but if you make a habit of relaxing your shoulders and neck you will avoid lots of problems and pains.

Your posture has to be maintained right not by “forcing” yourself straight, but achieving a correct balance between opposing muscle groups through correct exercise and stretching.

It is then natural and relaxed.

Ask your chiropractor.

Now please, breathe in fully, then breathe out and relax your shoulders, letting them fall back. Now, lift the middle of your chest 1/2 inch up without creating any tension in your back or shoulders and keeping your lower back naturally curved. That’s it – perfect posture! If you have trouble relaxing your shoulders or feel pain, go and see your chiropractor to restore the natural mobility of your joints in the upper back and neck, and they will give you some simple exercises to balance your posture.

Weight on one leg for 20 years?

Another unhealthy habit we have is standing on one leg, and again – we are not aware of it. When we stand straight, very often the weight of the body is shifted to one leg. Nothing wrong with that, you would say, except if you have to stand a lot and always use the same leg. And you will use the same leg 90% of the time, just as you use the same hand to brush your hair or use your computer mouse. Eventually this will cause your spine and pelvis to twist and hip joints will wear and tear prematurely due to uneven loading. This will also affect your neck which is slightly tilted to the side when you are standing with your body weight over the same leg all the time. And even worse, if you are squeezing the phone between your ear and your shoulder. This is a great recipe for neck and back pain, so please stand on two legs and use your phone hands free. 

Bag on the same shoulder for 20 years?

Carrying bags and rucksacks routinely on the same shoulder will cause pain in the shoulder, ribs and neck and contribute greatly to bad posture. The even use of a rucksack is the most comfortable method and the best for posture. If you do use a regular bag, best to put it across the chest over your shoulder to distribute the pressure of the strap and tension in your shoulders.

Love to slouch?

Sitting requires a skill too, especially when driving or sitting at the desk, have a look, what we think on this matter here: “Driving without back pain” and “Workstation Setup”.

Joints of the spine designed and formed in a certain way, to fit neatly with each other and distribute pressure evenly and smoothly, slouching takes this perfection away making muscles, ligaments and tendons weak and unable to support and align the spine correctly.

Extra weight speeds up joint’s “wear and tear”
Remember, that excess weight puts extra pressure on the joints and causes excess wear and tear resulting in pain and unnecessary suffering. Listen to my colleague Dr. Shirley Duckworth-Oats DC, who is a chiropractor and a teacher of Alexander Technique, explaining the importance of good posture and how excess weight influences your spine.

Doctor of Chiropractic Shirley kindly agreed to tell us what the Alexander Technique is and how it can improve your health, she is practicing and teaching Alexander Technique for over 25 years.

You are welcome to visit us at The Back Pain Centre, print the “Health Check Pass” here. This pass will entitle you to a Consultation, Examination, X-rays if needed and a full explanation of our findings and diagnosis, including recommendations for treatment, exercise and posture.