When you are at your desk sending late-night emails, standing for long hours or deeply focused on editing those presentation slides for the 128th time, your posture is probably the last thing on your mind. But that’s a mistake. As it turns out, bad posture can really take a toll on your muscles, joints, and ligaments. Not only that, but bad posture can also adversely affect your health in some seriously surprising ways!
From headaches to digestive issues, here are five ways your poor posture may be affecting your health–and how to fix it.
What exactly is bad posture?
Posture simply refers to the position in which you hold your body to counteract the force of gravity. When we are younger, our spines are a perfect S shape. However, age, poor habits and muscle fatigue, all lead to slouching, or bad posture.
The general consensus is that any activity which alters the position of your spine will cause you trouble. Examples include:
- Hunching over your iPad or laptop
- Slouching in a chair
- Leaning more on 1 leg while standing
How does bad posture affect your health?
Here’s how all that constant slouching and hunching over, is hurting your health:
- Headaches: There’s something called ‘cervicogenic headaches’, which originate in the neck. These headaches are typically caused by a forward head posture (i.e. head in front of your shoulders and trunk), which places increased stress on the joints and muscles in your upper neck.
- Fatigue: Bad posture isn’t the most energy-efficient way of keeping your body upright. And so, because your body is forced to work harder, it expends more energy throughout the day, which makes you feel more fatigued than usual. Not fun.
- Digestive issues: When you assume a slouched position, your organs are compressed in the abdomen. And that makes it harder for your body to digest food–potentially leading to digestive issues such as acid reflux or heartburn.
- Hip, knee, or ankle pain: Altered posture and muscle imbalances caused by poor posture can place excessive strain on your hips, knees, and even feet (e.g. if you’re a fan of only placing your weight on one leg).
- Back pain: Constantly sitting in an unsupported or slumped position (aka bad posture) puts a lot of pressure on your back region. Add that to the fact that sitting all day can shorten your hip flexors–thus pulling on your lower back–and you have a recipe for a dull and persistent ache. Ugh.
Ways to fix bad posture
Chances are, if you’ve read this far, you must have a bad posture. Either that or your back is killing you and you can’t wait to find out how you can fix it. Don’t worry, we’re here to help, so you can steer clear of all the above nasty health problems:
Be mindful of your posture: If possible at all, glance at the mirror to check your posture every so often and adjust whenever necessary. Otherwise, you could also get your family members or colleagues to remind you to sit up or stand up straight anytime you slouch.
Set up an ergonomic working desk: Make sure that your working desk is set up properly. You don’t want to be peering up or down at your monitor screen. As you know by now, that’s not good for you.
A back brace: If you’re struggling with debilitating back pain, a back brace is proven to help. Back braces provide support to your fatigued back muscles and help enable better mobility. The Bauerfeind LordoLoc provides moderate stability to the mid and lower spine, helping improve poor posture in the lower back in a streamlined thin brace. The SacroLoc is also a fantastic back brace option that effectively stabilises the sacroiliac joint and supports the pelvic region. The brace features a two-part gel cushion which massages the trigger points around the hip joints and the muscles surrounding it. Bauerfeind's unique and adjustable tensioning straps are featured on the SacroLoc and LordoLoc to allow you to straighten the pelvis and ensures that the brace is fitted perfectly to the contours of your body. in both cases, you would barely notice it on underneath clothes.
Ah, sweet, sweet relief.