If you sit at a desk all day, it’s easy to slump over like a hunchback or even slouch down in your chair just to try to get a different position. You probably know that when you don’t sit up tall the way your mom always told you to do, you might have pain and achiness in your back, shoulders, and neck. However, did you know that poor posture can negatively affect your overall health and wellbeing?
Your body systems are interconnected, which means that if you don’t take care of your posture, you can experience negative consequences with your breathing and digestive systems. Our doctors at Watson Chiropractic practice a holistic approach to all body systems and want to share some critical information with you about how your posture can have repercussions on your health. Here are a few things to watch for:
Increase in fatigue
Believe it or not, being hunched over uses more energy than sitting up straight. Your muscles and ligaments have to work harder to keep your body misaligned, leaving you feeling tired and lacking energy. By improving your posture, you can get a better night’s sleep and feel rested in the morning.
Your lungs and diaphragm need room to exchange oxygen properly. When your spine isn’t aligned correctly, you aren’t able to take in deep breaths and send out the necessary oxygen to all of the parts of your body. This can leave your vital organs, like the heart and brain, working in less than optimal conditions.
Leaning over all day can tighten the muscles in your neck. Over time, the bones in your back start to adjust to this as a normal position, and the natural curvature of the spine can change. The tightness in your neck muscles can lead to tension headaches that radiate from your neck up to your head.
If you struggle with heartburn, the way you sit could be to blame. When you slouch, it places extra pressure on your abdomen. This pressure can cause the acids in your stomach to flow into your esophagus and damage the sensitive tissue that lines this tube. Sitting upright after meals can help your food digest and minimize the flow of acid into the esophagus.
Ways to lessen the effects
If you’re struggling with any of these consequences of poor posture, it’s time to improve the way you sit. Here are a few ways you can check your stance and get yourself on the right path to a healthy life:
While sitting at your desk, observe your position. If your hips, shoulder, and ear are not in a straight vertical line, you’re probably hunched over. Try these pointers to get your posture on the straight and narrow:
- Sit up straight.
- Align your hips, shoulders, and ears in a vertical line
- Place your feet firmly on the floor
If you need to change positions, don’t slouch. Instead, move your bottom toward the edge of the seat. This shifts the pressure on your hips and abdomen and gives you a way to move your weight without slouching over.
Schedule regular breaks from working throughout the day. Stroll around the office or just stand by your desk, and do some quick stretches to get your blood flowing to your lower body. If it’s nice outside, take a long walk on your breaks or lunches to get movement and boost your mood, too. Be sure to stand or change your position at least every two hours.
If you're experiencing any of these side effects of poor posture, our team at Watson Chiropractic can help. Our holistic approach can ease the repercussions of poor posture and get you on the right track. Give our Kent or Tacoma offices a call today, or click on the “book online” button to select a provider and schedule your consultation.