When you're standing or sitting, your posture is the orientation of your body. Your posture shows how your head, shoulders, and hips are aligned with your spine. When the spine is out of its neutral alignment position, this is referred to as a bad posture.
Various factors may contribute to poor posture, and they include:
Here are five ways you can tell if you have bad posture:
The wall test is a self-test exercise where an individual stands against a wall with his head, shoulders, and backside in contact with the wall and the heels four to six inches away from the wall. You put your palm flat against the wall and then reach back and slip your hand in the space between the wall and your back. If you have good posture, your head, shoulder blades, and backside will comfortably contact the wall leaving about two inches of space between your buttocks and neck.
If you have tightness, stiffness, or soreness in your back, neck, or shoulder that does not go away, you might be suffering from poor posture. Some may even experience persistent headaches. The headaches arise when the muscles in the back of your head, neck, and upper back are strained.
In some cases, muscle tightness, weakness, and imbalance caused by poor posture can cause the muscles connecting the upper arm and shoulder to tear. This can contribute to the shoulder pain you may be experiencing.
Forward head carriage is where the head is tilted too much forward that it is out of line with the spine. This is dangerous because it can strain muscles under the chin resulting in pain, fatigue, and neck pain. At times due to the strain under the chin, one may experience popping of the jaw or even difficulty opening the mouth.
If you experience rounding of the upper body, arching of the lower back, and tilting of the upper body while you sit, stand, or walk, you likely have bad posture. You can correct this over time by being careful to strengthen the muscles in the chest, core, and upper body while sitting, standing, and walking.
Bad posture can compress the diaphragm and narrow the rib cage, resulting in reduced lung capacity and shallow breathing.
If you encounter any or most of these signs, that does not necessarily mean you have poor posture. These are signs that you should start taking care of your posture when you sit, stand, and walk. For a more comprehensive diagnosis, visit a doctor who will validate the results and guide you towards treatment.
To know more about good and bad posture, visit Oropeza Chiropractic Wellness Center at our office in Key West, Florida. You can also call (305) 440-1614 to book an appointment today.