If your mother was like most, she probably, at some point during your childhood, admonished you to sit and stand up straight. (Perhaps she repeated this more than once.) In my years working with patients with back and neck pain, it appears that most of them did not take their mother very seriously, as their consistent poor posture over the years is often a big contributor to their current problem. Unfortunately, if they have been stooping, slouching, etc., their entire lives, the chances of substantially changing those habits are slim, but I always feel it is important to point out the things they are doing that are contributing to their discomfort and make suggestions as to what improvements could be attempted. It isn’t easy changing one’s old ways, but I have never seen someone not benefit from a concerted effort to do so.
What are the benefits gained? Proper posture helps keep joints in better alignment with less abnormal wear placed on joint surfaces. It decreases stress on supporting structures, lessening the chances of developing strain and overuse symptoms such as muscle fatigue and pain. Proper posture contributes positively to one’s appearance. Following are some of the recommendations I share with patients for the home and office that can help them in their efforts to experience some of these benefits. Like with exercise, there are no quick fixes here, and one needs to be consistent with their efforts to improve their posture.
Next week, we will investigate:
1) Sleeping posture
2) Work posture
3) Postural micro-breaks
Dr. Steven Vollmer is a doctor of chiropractic (DC) and Diplomate of the American Academy of Pain Management (DAAPM) in clinical practice at Cole Pain Therapy Group.