“If we simply exercise without addressing our posture, we risk becoming stronger versions of our crooked selves” – Paul D’Arezzo, MD
As a resident of Central Florida, I can attest to spending so much time either sitting in my car driving around from point a to b, as well as sitting at a desk working for long periods of time. Does this sound like you?
Here are just some negative effects of poor posture: stiffness, chronic pain, low back pain, headaches, stress-related illnesses, breathing problems, hormonal changes, fluctuations in blood pressure and a decrease in flexibility.
Let’s take a look at one of the aforementioned and most common ailments of poor posture: back pain.
Like the nearly 80% of Americans who will experience a back problem during their lifetime, back pain is triggered by a strenuous activity such as gardening, golfing or weighted exercise. It could be as simple as bending down to pick up trash and your back gives out.
Low back pain can be the result of many different things. Pain can be triggered by some combination of overuse, muscle strain or injuries to the structures that support the spine. Over time, a muscle injury that has not been managed correctly may lead to an overall imbalance in the spine, making the back more prone to injury.
Low back exercises and flexibility can be the best treatment option for almost all types of back problems as it is likely to help restore balance in the spine. Rehabilitation programs or preventative rehabilitation programs that focus on strengthening lumbar muscles combined with core stability will reduce the risk of low back pain if exercises are done correctly, and on a regular basis.
So what is the “core”?
Your “core” consists of a group of muscles that work together to produce maximum stability in the abdominal and lower-back region, as well as coordinate the movement of the arms, legs, and spine.
Consciously engaging these muscles isn’t something that most people do. However, it’s important to learn how to effectively utilize these muscles when exercising so you can engage and strengthen them to uphold your body’s’ posture needs.
How do you engage your “core”?
Place two fingers on the bones on the front of your hips. Move your hands in 1 inch towards your belly button and down 1 inch towards your feet. You should now be directly over the TVA muscle. When you contract your core correctly, you should feel a gentle tightening under your fingers, as if you took in your belt an extra notch. Learning to engage your core muscles will help provide stability to your spine.
And core stability benefits everyone, from older people to top professional athletes. Increasing your core stability means making the muscles of your trunk stronger to keep your spine and body stable.
So if you need to sit for long periods of time, here' how you do it:
Allow the backrest of your chair to support your low and mid back, or use a back support. Relax your arms and keep your forearms parallel to the ground. Have your feet on the floor or on a footrest (if
your feet don’t touch the ground), with your ankles in front of your knees. Adjust your seat so your knees are in-line or lower than your hips. Try to avoid crossing your legs and sitting for long periods of time.
Sitting at your desk and interacting with a computer can put a lot of stress on your neck. However, if we could reverse poor posture, we could be a lot healthier and happier every single day.
If you have read this thinking "Wow, I need to do something about my posture!" come check us out in Altamonte Springs as Orlando's only self-care center.
Not only can we help to reduce the effects of poor posture through therapeutic massage in Altamonte Springs, but we also offer stretching and other forms of mobility assistance within massages.
Come check us out! One of our massage therapists at our studio specializes in stretching her clients within the massage to help with posture, circulation and overall allowing for the body to move in a way that allows for healing and restoration.
Give us a call at 407-300-5364!