Long spells of sitting at a desk, working on a laptop or looking down at the mobile phone screen are not the best things we are doing in everyday life for our health. All these habits can cause poor posture that can impact on your overall health. You can end up with back and neck conditions if you have a bad posture. There are more risks of poor posture you should be aware of. On World Spine Day, observed on October 16, learn about how bad posture can affect your health.
Posture refers to the position and alignment of the body while sitting, standing or performing any activity. It involves the arrangement of bones, muscles and joints in relation to one another, says Dr Smita Ingle, Director, Physiotherapy Occupational Therapy and Rehab Centre, Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune.
Causes of bad posture
Bad or poor posture can be caused by various factors. Some of them are:
• Prolonged periods of sitting
• Incorrect ergonomics
• Muscle weakness
• Habits such as slouching or hunching formed over time.
Side effects of poor posture on body
The effects of poor posture on the body are significant and can lead to various health issues.
Poor posture can lead to conditions such as spondylitis, which involves inflammation of the vertebrae and can cause chronic back pain and stiffness, the expert tells Health Shots.
Incorrect posture can strain neck muscles. This can contribute to tension headaches and migraines. In most cases, the pain can be felt in the base of the skull. Sometimes, it can be felt in the face, especially the forehead.
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3. Neck and back pain
It places undue stress on the spine, leading to chronic pain and discomfort in the neck and back areas.
4. Carpal tunnel syndrome
Improper wrist and hand positioning during activities can lead to compression of the median nerve, causing numbness and pain in the hand and wrist.
Poor posture can contribute to overuse injuries, including tendinitis, which involves inflammation of the tendons, shares Dr Ingle.
6. Misaligned spine
Poor posture can also negatively impact the position of your spine. If you do most of your daily activities with bad body mechanics, you can have spinal misalignment as well as muscle spasm.
When you sit on a toilet by hunching over with your knees lower than your hips, it can lead to constipation. That’s because this style of sitting closes the anus and makes it harder for your abdominal muscles to help move your poop out.
8. Poor sleep
Bad posture can put your muscles in an uncomfortable position. If you are not able to relax your body at night, you might move around to find a comfortable position for your back and neck. This can lead to poor sleep.
Tips to improve posture
Correcting your posture can help your body a lot. So, do the following.
1. Take regular breaks
Take short breaks to stand, stretch and move around, especially during prolonged periods of sitting.
2. Adjust ergonomics
Ensure that your workstation is set up correctly, with proper chair height, monitor positioning and keyboard placement, suggests the expert.
Do exercises that will help to strengthen your core muscles and in turn promote good posture. You can do yoga, Pilates and strength training.
4. Be mindful of body positioning
Pay attention to how you sit, stand and move throughout the day. That means no more slouching or hunching.
5. Practice relaxation techniques
Techniques like deep breathing and visualisation can help to relax your muscles and reduce tension.
Also, avoid staying in one position for too long. So, shift between sitting and standing, and adjust your posture frequently.