Did your mother ever tell you to sit up straight and not slouch at the dinner table? As it turns out, your mother was right. Posture is the way you maintain your body while sitting or standing. Going through your day with poor posture can cause some of your muscles to tighten, while causing others to weaken and stretch. This change in your postural muscles can cause you to be more susceptible to injury in the future, and even lead to disc injuries in your spine. Understanding and maintaining good posture is especially important in today’s world where people sit for hours at computers, or look down at their phones for extended periods of time. Our kids are also at increased risk by carrying heavy backpacks for school and spending hours playing video games and texting on their phones.
Working long hours at your desk or work station can take a toll on your body. It can lead to headaches, back pain, eye strain, and fatigue. An important step in improving your workplace posture is to do an ergonomic assessment of your work station. You can do this yourself by:
- Adjusting your chair height to make sure your feet are touching the floor.
- Fix your monitor height so that it’s slightly below eye level
- Change the lighting to decrease glare on your computer screen.
Also, stopping frequently throughout the day to take a short break can help reduce your muscle strain and reset your posture. Get up and walk around a bit or take a few moments to stretch your back and shoulders.
There are several additional easy ways to improve your posture that take just minutes a day:
- When you get up in the morning, look in a mirror or stand against a wall to make sure you are starting the day off upright. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and stick your chest out.
- Avoid lifting heavy items or ask for help if needed.
- Daily exercises and strengthening core muscles will help you maintain good muscle support for your spine. (Read our blog on core muscle strength.)
- Maintaining a healthy weight will also decrease the stress that you place on your body. Check your BMI to be sure it’s in the normal range.
If you’re experiencing pain or need help with exercises to address your posture, Sterling Ridge Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine can help. Our team of fellowship-trained orthopedic physicians and experienced physical therapists will take the time to truly understand your needs and present the best options available for the prevention and treatment of your condition.