A good posture is an issue that goes far beyond aesthetics, being directly related to our health. The correct alignment of our body allows us to have more precise and more efficient movements, in addition to providing well-being. This is because maintaining correct posture does not overload our muscles and bones. Poor posture can be responsible for triggering changes in the spine, as is the case with scoliosis.
What does having good posture mean?
We can define good posture as one in which our body acquires an optimal position to perform an activity. This position is achieved with minimal muscle effort, with all bones, muscles, and joints aligned. In proper posture, our bodies are able to distribute loads evenly and conserve energy. When we have bad posture, we overload our body and this may trigger pain and changes in the spine.
How to have a good posture in everyday life?
We must take care of our posture in all the activities we are going to perform, even during leisure time (e.g. such as watching television.) Here are some tips to improve your posture and protect your spine!
- When walking, keep your back straight, your abdomen tight, and look straight ahead.
- When you have to pick up something on the floor, don’t bend your back. To go lower, bend at your knees.
- To transport heavy bags, for example, do not carry them in just one hand. Distribute the weight.
- Never use backpacks using only one strap; use both straps to evenly distribute weight across both sides of the body.
- When sweeping the house, use a broom with a handle suitable for your height. Avoid leaning forward.
- When tying shoes, avoid bending your spine. Try to sit up and cross your legs to reach your shoes or bend down by bending your knees.
- As you sit, make sure your spine is straight, your back is supported by the back of the chair, and your feet are flat on the floor. Avoid crossing your legs.
- When using the computer, keep the screen at eye level.
- To pick up an object from a high place, climb a ladder, chair, or bench. Avoid trying to pick up the object by raising your arms and standing on tiptoe.
- When using the mobile phone, keep the device at eye level. Avoid bending your head down.
- To sleep, one of the recommended ways is to lie down on your side and use a pillow that fits perfectly into the space formed by your head and shoulder. To keep your spine straight in this position, it is recommended to use a pillow between your legs. Another position that helps protect our spine at night is to lie on your back and place a pillow under your head and another under your knees. It is worth noting that the prone position is not advisable because it strains the spine.
- When getting up, it is important to turn on your side, supporting yourself on your arms, and taking your legs off the bed.
A poor posture may be liable to cause deviations in the spine, body structure formed by a series of bone (vertebrae) that acts as the main support shaft body. These deviations are dangerous because, over time, they can be responsible for problems such as wear on the joints and pinched nerves that depart from the spine.
- Hyperlordosis: A condition in which an abnormally increased curvature of the lower spine is observed. This curvature makes the buttocks more prominent, as well as the belly more prominent.
- Hyperkyphosis: Also known as slouching, this is an unbalanced position that can lead to back pain and neck pain. Occurs when we have an abnormal increase in chest concavity. This increased curvature causes the shoulders to come forward and the person into a “hunchback” position.
- Scoliosis: generates a lateral curvature of the spine. This curvature causes asymmetries in the trunk, with one shoulder being higher than the other.
Spine deviations can be treated, and the treatment depends on the severity of each case and the type of postural deviation you are experiencing. A postural vest can be used to prevent the advance of the problem. Some spine deviations may need to be corrected with the use of surgical procedures. The best way to avoid this surgery is to keep the correct posture and prevent the worsening of spine deviation.
Retrieved from: https://medlineplus.gov/guidetogoodposture.html
Hedy Marks, Tyler Wheeler, MD, Types of Spine Curvature Disorders, August 16, 2019.