Dr. Bonnie Verhunce
How Posture Affects Your Health
Updated: Oct 1, 2019
Your mother always said don’t slouch, turns out she was right. And she has science to back it up.
Your posture can have a profound effect on your health. Walking or sitting with a hunched back has been linked to a variety of health issues.
What’s more, poor posture can cause your body’s structure to change, leading to misalignment. While everyone slips a bit in the posture department now and then, the real damage occurs when it becomes a habit. In fact, you could be damaging your health with bad posture and not even realize it. Here are five ways that posture mistakes can harm your health.
Pain in the neck, back, and shoulders
Sitting in a slouched or hunched over position, drooping your shoulders, or rounding out your spine while standing or sitting can cause pain in your neck, back, and shoulders. Many people who work with computers as a regular part of their jobs experience this to some degree.
That is because the majority of workers do not have their computer monitors at the appropriate height, causing them to spend hours a day hunched over their keyboard. People who spend a lot of time on their smartphone and mobile devices experience text neck, which is caused by this type of poor posture.
Increased depression and stress
The connection between posture and mood has long been established. People who walk slouched over tend to feel more depressed and have a poorer self-image.
When you are slouched, you are restricting blood flow throughout your body, inhibiting proper oxygenation of your cells, and crowding your organs so that they are not able to function at an optimum level. If your spine or body is out of alignment, it can slow the neural processes that keep your body functioning as it should. When all these things are going on, your mood will definitely be affected, especially if you aren’t as active as you should be.
Pain and weakness in the lower back, hips, knees, and ankles
This posture problem is common in people who are obese and pregnant women. The added weight causes the body to shift in unnatural positions in order to support it.
This postural problem can also be the result of inappropriate footwear. Feet are important! Take care of them by wearing shoes with good support. This can cause flat feet and cause the ankles to roll.
The calf muscles will tighten and your knees may even rotate inward. You can experience plantar fasciitis, pain in your toes, heel spurs, bunions, and hip problems. Weight loss can help and pregnant women can benefit from a pregnancy sling or pregnancy girdle to support the added girth.
Sitting in a hunched position crunches up everything inside, including your intestines. This will slow things down considerably, leading to constipation and even hemorrhoids.
The human body was designed to remain in a certain position so that all organs can function as they should. When things are out of alignment it can lead to indigestion, heartburn, and even acid reflux. Practicing good posture can make all the difference in a lot of things. Poor digestion can lead to obesity.
Spinal misalignment leading to many health issues
When your spine is out of line, it can cause headaches, dizziness, and a host of other issues. It puts your body under stress so even the normal processes like blood flow and organ function are thrown off kilter. When your body isn’t working as it should the risk of serious conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension are increased.
Many people don’t make the connection between good posture with a properly aligned spine and better health, but it is definitely there. Posture may seem simple, like it’s not that big of a deal, but when it is practiced on an ongoing basis, it can be detrimental to your health. It isn’t worth the risk; not when the fix is as simple as sitting up straight.
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