October is National Chiropractic Awareness month! It’s a great time to talk about spinal health and good posture.
Posture is the position that we hold our bodies while sitting, standing or lying down. Posture is equal parts active and passive: the active part is what we do to stand, sit or lie down, and the passive part is the body’s support system of bones, muscles, nerves, and ligaments aiding that process.
Good posture means improved physical health, greater stamina, better mental well-being, diminished stress, weight management, and less aches and pains.
Good posture keeps bones and joints in proper alignment and decreases abnormal wear and tear that could result in arthritis or joint pain. Good posture also reduces stress on the ligaments that hold joints together, reducing the possibility of injury.
What are the best ways to stand, sit or lie down to maintain good posture?
Place your feet on the floor (or a footrest if your feet don’t reach the floor) with your knees in front of your ankles. Leave a gap between the back of your knees and the seat of the chair. Adjust the backrest to support your low and mid-back or use a back support. Relax your shoulders and keep your forearms parallel to the ground. Don’t cross your legs and avoid sitting too long. Get up every 30 minutes and move for at least five. Keep hand weights at your desk and take a brisk walk in the fresh air!
Keep your feet shoulder-width apart with your arms hanging down the sides of the body. Bear your weight primarily on the balls of your feet with your knees slightly bent. Stand straight and tall with shoulders back and stomach in. Keep your head level with your earlobes in line with your shoulders. Shift your weight from toes to heel or one foot to another when standing for a long time. Hydration is important – make sure you drink plenty of water to support the body.
A good mattress is an important investment. A firm mattress is better for those trying to prevent back problems, but a soft mattress is easier for those who already have back pain. Sleep on your side or back with a pillow and place an extra pillow between your legs for side sleeping. When you wake, do some light stretches before you rise. Knee rotations clockwise and counterclockwise is a good stretch for the low back and legs.
You may be wondering if you can correct poor posture and the answer is yes! You can adjust your behaviors to improve your posture, and we recommend active movement daily. Exercises that may help you improve your posture include walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates, and gardening.
Let’s celebrate National Chiropractic Awareness month this October by improving our posture! Schedule your next adjustment for an assessment of your current posture habits. Remember that we’d much rather see you for preventative care than to treat you for chronic or acute pain!