Working on attaining good posture is a simple but effective way to reduce or eliminate back pain. Or more to the point, bad posture is a significant way in which many people attain back pain. Once you’ve already developed back pain, good posture alone may not solve your problem. However, developing your postural muscles and striving for improvement will help prevent many neck and back problems before they begin.
Take a look at someone with bad posture and it is easy to see the areas of the neck, upper and lower back that are likely receiving the most strain from the less than ideal posture. Alleviating pain is a common reason why someone might seek out ways to improve posture.
Improving your posture and alleviating the stress on the many joints of your spine is more than a cosmetic benefit. The relief of the additional strain will add years to the life of your spine. Just as driving with your wheels out of alignment will lead to uneven and premature tire wear, living your life with your spine out of alignment will speed up the wear and tear of your spine.
Back supports and posture aids can be helpful in maintaining good posture, but they will not fix your ailing back. You will still need to remember to sit up straight and exercise to strengthen your muscles. Just as a weight belt in the gym helps when you are doing a lot of heavy lifting, a posture support is just there to slow down muscle fatigue during your day.
The posture support is useful, but just not often purchased for its intended purpose. Over time, the stress of poor posture can lead to constricted blood vessels and nerves in addition to problems with your muscles, discs, and joints. A posture strap or vest will not correct all of these things overnight.
Good posture means keeping the spine in its optimal position. This allows for all body parts to be balanced and supported. If someone has ideal standing posture, you should be able to draw a straight line from the bottom of the ear, through the shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle.
Once you have a basis of comparison for what is proper alignment, use that information to evaluate your sitting and sleeping positions. Your sleeping posture should be very similar to the standing posture, with the sitting posture similar from the waist up. Does your position look okay? This is a difficult evaluation for you to perform yourself. Involving another person to take a look at your various postures can be very helpful.
Developing perfect posture is also not something you can just do once and walk away. Just like changing the oil in your car or exercising regularly, working on your posture will take some daily effort. Counteracting your daily posture-damaging activities with posture improving exercises can be done in less than ten minutes per day, but it does take consistency. After all, you’re damaging your posture consistently aren’t you?