Have you ever wondered why you constantly have headache?
Or why there is a nagging discomfort in your neck or upper back?
Well, all of those aches and pains could be down to one very important aspect of your life: your posture. Yes, that’s right. For those of you who have never considered your posture important, or who haven’t really given the way you sit, stand, or walk it’s time to take notice. Your posture affects almost everything about your body, from muscle health through to bone structure and overall mobility. It’s no wonder, then, that today’s blog is all about posture. So, get ready, sit up straight, and start diving into why your posture matters.
Having a good posture is important for more than self-confidence. Sure, it’s great to enter a room like Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, but walking balanced and upright means a lot more. For one thing, a good posture directly affects the health and suppleness of our muscles. Practicing good posture ensures that our muscles remain strong and mobile, thereby allowing them to offer much-needed support to our skeletal structure.
Headaches can often be linked back to an uneven, unbalanced posture.
Why? Because poor posture puts increased stress on the muscles in the front body while decreasing use of muscles in the back body. This abnormal stress leads to muscle imbalance over time that leads to pain as your body tries to compensate for abnormal forces.
We can picture you adjusting yourself in your seat, now. And that’s good! Far too many of us forget that the small, daily habits we have a huge effect on our muscles, our posture, and our headaches. From sitting incorrectly in a desk chair to carrying uneven amounts of weight and overcompensating on one side when driving, we’re all guilty of practicing bad posture throughout the day. The good news is, though, we now know there is room for improvement!
First things first, though: how do we know if our posture is off?
Well, the key to knowing if your posture isn’t quite right is to listen to your body. Pay close attention to the little things you do. For example, do you always carry your bag on one side of your body and then lean away from the weight in order to balance? If so, you’re practicing incorrect posture: your spine curves unnaturally in order to accommodate the uneven weight. Another example is this: when you drive, do you lean your elbow into the driver’s door? If so, your spine is once again curving unnaturally. How about when you walk? Do you lean very far forward or do you tend to “fluff your tail feather” (stick your bottom out)? If so, your walk is off and your incorrect posture could cause back pain down the road. All three of these examples are just a tiny few compared to the various ways in which incorrect posture can rear its ugly head in your daily activities. For this reason, it’s extremely important to be aware and to get the right advice immediately.
Always remind yourself of your posture and aim to improve it. For example, you could start making sure that your head is balanced on top of your spine when you are standing. How do you do this? I like to pretend there is an invisible string through the top of my head that is lifting me up. This helps me to think of how to align my spine without too much work through my muscles. If you sit for prolonged periods of time for work (or leisure!) make sure you are also sitting upright in your chair at work, lift the height of your computer monitor, and refrain from using laptops where possible. Remember to get up regularly and go for a walk, too!
In regards to headaches, it is really important that you are upright with your spine aligned. Ensure that your shoulders aren’t hunched and your head is not protruding forward. This increases compression through the joints in the back of your neck which can easily cause headaches. You also want to make sure that you have equal weight through your legs if you are standing of through your cheeks if you are sitting. Keeping equal weight bearing through your lower body helps to improve the stacking of your spine. This helps to ensure that your neck is sitting in the right position with decreased stress through your head.
Having said all that, we also know that it can be tricky to self-diagnose potential posture issues. Oftentimes, habits are formed over years and years, and that’s exactly why breaking them, or even recognizing their damaging effects, can be very difficult. However, if you’re serious about tackling your posture – whether to ensure prolonged health and a pain free life, or to eradicate existing pain – it’s imperative that you see a physical therapist. Professional, hands-on physical therapy is the safest, most effective way of tackling posture-related issues. Not only will we be able to diagnose the root cause of your problem (which will eliminate the pain!) but we can also give you custom exercises to ensure that your headaches don’t return.
At the end of the day, just as a lifetime of bad habits can lead to injury, so too can the practice of correct, targeted habits improve your posture and thereby undo the damage. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the improvement of your posture doesn’t hinge on a large, extreme gesture. It takes the accumulative effects of daily, conscious changes to alter bad posture. Listen to your body and make the changes needed to move forward into a pain-free, long, mobile life.
We understand that bad posture has the potential to cause crippling headaches which hinders an active lifestyle. We also know that postural issues may well lead to serious injury or prolonged suffering. And, we really don’t want that for you. If you’re not sure whether you have bad posture and if that is related to your headache pain, then we invite you to contact us today for a Free Discovery Visit. Make the change needed to create positive habits that will last a lifetime. Good posture paves the way for a healthful, pain-free life, free from headaches. We cannot wait to give you the foundation to a healthy posture and headache free lifestyle.