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What’s the Best Way to Correct Your Posture?

It's more than feeling better, it's being healthier.

What’s the Best Way to Correct Your Posture?

Chiropractic treatment for bad posture

What’s the best way to correct your posture? Attaining good posture takes effort. Long hours hunched over phones, tablets, and laptops can take a toll on our posture. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to fix your posture.

Chiropractors take an overall, full-body approach to help with posture. They use chiropractic adjustments to correct spinal misalignments, which cause pain, muscle spasm, and poor posture.

Here are some common questions about lousy posture and chiropractic care.

Can a Chiropractor Fix Poor Posture?

Chiropractors are especially well suited to correct bad posture. Although they deal with the entire musculoskeletal system, chiropractors spend most of their time ensuring the spine is healthy. Because when the spine is healthy, the rest of the body tends to function better.

Correcting your posture isn’t just about looking better, standing taller, and feeling more confident. It’s also about your health in general. People with poor posture constantly put extra pressure on the discs in the spine, which increases the risk of back pain and injury.

Maintaining the natural S-curve of the spine is essential for maintaining the spine’s neutral posture. These natural curves mean the spine is structurally sound in its natural curvature. When your posture is poor, it causes the spine to come out of proper alignment, which means it’s structurally vulnerable.

Since your nervous system travels through the spine, poor posture can affect how the rest of your body feels and even the movement of other joints throughout the body.

There are many causes of poor posture. Improper lifting can contribute to bad posture. Often it isn’t just one thing but a combination of the following:

  • Stress
  • Lifestyle
  • Mood/Emotions
  • Weight Gain
  • Pregnancy
  • Carrying Heavy Backpacks
  • Wearing High Heels

Therefore, fixing posture is more complex than just remembering to stand up straight.

Signs You Have Poor Posture

Many people only realize they have bad posture once they start experiencing pain or stiffness. Posture isn’t something most of us are conscious of until it needs fixing. So, here are some signs you have bad posture:

  • Regular headaches
  • Pain at the front of your shoulders
  • Neck pain
  • Stiff upper back
  • Rounded upper back
  • Rounded shoulders
  • Forward Head Position

Can You Straighten the Spine Without Surgery?

Chiropractors never use surgery to fix posture— or any other problem, for that matter. Chiropractic care is non-invasive and drug-free. A chiropractor will take a whole-body approach to poor posture, getting at the root of the problem instead of simply addressing the symptoms.

Any spinal surgery comes with inherent risks, so it’s always best to exhaust conservative treatment options first. Some extreme circumstances may warrant surgery, but most posture correction doesn’t require surgery.

How Long Does It Take?

Unfortunately, posture correction is usually a process that takes time. Depending on the severity of your poor posture, you could be standing up straighter in just a few weeks. If you’re experiencing pain from poor posture, chiropractic care can provide relief in as little as one to three sessions.

But posture correction isn’t all about chiropractic visits. There are things that you’ll need to do on your own time to help correct the imbalance. Here’s a look at a typical posture correction diagnosis and treatment.

  • Medical history
  • Thorough examination and diagnosis
  • Measuring posture imbalances and misalignments
  • Pain relief (if necessary)
  • Spinal adjustments
  • Stretches and physical therapy
  • Exercises (often performed at home)
  • Lifestyle and ergonomic tips

How long it takes to fully correct your posture depends on your condition’s severity. While not an overnight fix, chiropractic can significantly improve your posture and pain levels. Once you have addressed the mechanical causes of your poor posture, you will still need to work on your posture “habits.”

Chiropractic Care and Posture Correction

There are different types of poor posture. Each of these requires slightly different methods to fix. Below are some common types of poor posture that chiropractors can help with.

Forward Head Posture

Forward head posture, also called “tech neck,” is exactly what it sounds like. It’s often the result of leaning the head and neck forward to look at our phone, read a book or type on a keyboard.

Fixing tech neck is generally a matter of muscle strengthening and spinal alignment combined with good habits. A chiropractor will likely give you some simple stretching and strengthening exercises to do at home. They may also tell you to set an alarm when reading or working on the computer. It’s best to spend at most 30 to 40 minutes at your computer.

What is “text neck”?

Text neck is a relatively new problem related to the increased amounts of “screen time” we are all experiencing. The term “text neck” describes a muscle imbalance due to prolonged poor posture resulting in a jutting of the head and shoulders. “Upper-Crossed Syndrome” (UCS) occurs when the muscles in the upper back tighten to counteract tight chest muscles. The chest muscles become tighter because of our hunched position while gripping a phone or typing on a keyboard. These muscle imbalances cause misalignments in the spine, resulting in back pain, neck pain, and headaches.

  • Lateral Neck Stretch

Sit (or stand) in a chair with good posture, meaning your shoulders back and your head in a neutral position. Tilt your left ear sideways toward your left shoulder, keeping the right shoulder relaxed. To increase the stretch, grasp the bottom of your chair with your right hand. Stretch to both the left and right, switching hands as needed. Hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds for 2-3 sets. Then, switch directions. Keep your upper body relaxed and pain-free.

  • Neck Rotation Stretch

Again, sit in a chair, avoiding poor posture. Ensure the neck is neutral (slightly tucked) before starting. Rotate your head to the right, looking over your right shoulder. When you can’t go any further, place your left hand on your cheek and gently apply pressure and hold. Do not force this stretch and keep your neck in a neutral position. Hold for 5-10 seconds and then switch to the other side. Repeat 10-20 times total on each side.

Fixing “Text Neck”

Fixing tech neck is generally a matter of muscle strengthening and spinal alignment combined with good habits. Set an alarm when reading or working on the computer. It’s best to spend at most 30 to 40 minutes at your computer without changing position.

Despite all the benefits of technology, there are also some adverse effects and implications for our health. Studies have shown that prolonged use of smartphones can negatively affect our posture and respiratory function (breathing). Because of gravity, the further we allow our heads and shoulders to round over our phones or keyboards, the more weight the neck and back perceive. An adult’s head weighs about 10-12 pounds. When seated in an upright position, our spines easily carry the weight of our head. If we drop our heads down 60 degrees, the spine now carries the equivalent of 60 pounds!

Hyper Kyphosis

“Hunchback” posture is another term for kyphosis, which can result from poor posture or be congenital. Either way, chiropractic can help. People with a “hunched” back due to poor posture can benefit significantly from chiropractic care.

Spinal adjustments are often used in the middle back to “teach” proper spine alignment. Chiropractic adjustments combined with muscle stretching, muscle strengthening, and lifestyle tips can go a long way to correct this problem.

Slouching

Slouching can mean a few different things. Sometimes slouching is a natural byproduct of forward head posture. Usually, it’s characterized by rounded shoulders, creating a hollow chest and an unnaturally rounded upper back. Another term for this is Dowager’s hump. Chiropractic care can help with spinal adjustments, stretches, and exercises.

  • Chest Stretch

Stand sideways in a doorway or door and stand tall. Bend your elbow 90 degrees and bring up to shoulder height with your hand up and facing forward. Place your upper arm and elbow against the doorway and lean into it to feel a stretch in your chest. Thirty seconds to one minute works well. Repeat on the other side.

  • Upper Back Isometric Exercise

Lie on your stomach, facing the floor, and your arms straight in front of you. Pull your elbows at your sides as much as you can. Hold in this position for 5 to 10 seconds, and then return your arms in front of you. You should feel the contraction in your back muscle when you hold this position. Next, you can lift your chest a few inches off the floor to engage your back muscles more efficiently.

Poor Posture and Back Pain

Poor posture can cause all kinds of problems throughout the body. It can make one’s shoulders uneven, cause hip misalignments, and weaken the spine’s structure. Many people who suffer from bad posture also suffer from back pain. They have trouble sleeping with back pain and doing everyday activities that give their lives meaning.

For better or worse, we aren’t going to stop using technology. It isn’t the enemy. Just like pie, alcohol, or sunlight, moderation is key. For starters, limit your phone and tablet time, and most importantly, move! “Motion is lotion”! We were designed to move, not to spend our days sitting in front of a computer or steering wheel. Set a timer for yourself to get up, walk, do some jumping jacks, stretch, or do anything that doesn’t involve sitting! Any position can become painful if held for too long. The exercises listed above, along with chiropractic adjustments, can all help to improve your posture.

How Chiropractors Help Poor Posture

Poor posture can cause all kinds of problems throughout the body. It can make one’s shoulders uneven, cause hip misalignments, and weaken the spine’s structure. Many people who suffer from bad posture also suffer from back pain. They have trouble sleeping with back pain and doing everyday activities that give their lives meaning.

The good news is that chiropractic care can help fix poor posture. But since it doesn’t take only one day for a person’s posture to degrade, it doesn’t take only a day for a chiropractor to fix it.

Luckily, many people experience posture-related pain relief quickly. And as the pain goes away, it becomes easier to work with your chiropractor to improve your posture. Pretty soon, you don’t have to think about it anymore; you maintain the proper posture automatically!

Spinal Health and Technology

For better or worse, we aren’t going to stop using technology. It isn’t the enemy. Just like pie, alcohol, or sunlight, moderation is key. For starters, limit your phone and tablet time, and most importantly, move! “Motion is lotion”! We were designed to move, not to spend our days sitting in front of a computer or steering wheel. Set a timer for yourself to get up, walk, do some jumping jacks, stretch, or do anything that doesn’t involve sitting! Any position can become painful if held for too long. If you are experiencing wrist pain, schedule a free consultation to learn if Dr. Doran can help you.