Has anybody ever told you that you have bad posture? Or told you to straighten up and stop slouching? So what does bad posture mean, and is it really that important? Good posture does much more for us than just making sure we’re standing tall and confident while looking the best we can. Having good posture actually has significant health benefits that will benefit us now, but even more importantly, into the future. Having good posture will help reduce the pain we now have and help prevent future episodes of pain and injuries. The way our body functions and moves will significantly improve and even help prevent other significant health issues and diseases later on. We’ve put together some easy basic ideas on correcting your posture and giving you the tools you need to start making the changes for yourself!
Two main syndromes come from bad posture and how to fix them.
Upper Cross Syndrome
Have you ever experienced any of the following symptoms? You may be suffering from Upper Cross Syndrome (UCS)?
- Soreness in the shoulder blades
- Difficulty driving or doing other activities because of tightness and/or pain
- Frequent neck pain without an apparent injury
- Feel like you are constantly moving positions while sitting at your computer or desk
- Feel like your head is continuing to roll forward
- Frequent headaches
If you look at yourself in a side profile and notice anything such as:
- Rounding of the shoulders forward
- An inward curve of your neck
- Shoulder blades that protrude out the back
- Your head is protruding forward.
These are all signs that you have UCS. But all is not lost. You can make the changes necessary to correct your posture and decrease your symptoms through exercise and stretching. Take a look at this diagram to understand which muscles to focus on strengthening (weak muscles) and which to focus on stretching and massaging (tight muscles).
Lower Cross Syndrome
Maybe your neck and shoulders feel great, but your lower body isn’t feeling so good. If you have any:
- Frequent pain and stiffness in the lower half of your body
- Your hips aren’t lined up correctly
- Hips tilt forward, increasing the curve in your lumbar spine (low back).
You may have lower cross syndrome (LCS) if you have any of these symptoms:
- Pain in your hip, lumbar, hamstrings, or pelvis
- Protruding stomach from an arched lower back
- Hip flexor pain
- Groin pain
- Pain in the spine or buttocks
- Tightness and tension in the low back/hips
Take a look at the diagram above to understand which muscles to focus on strengthening (weak muscles) and which to focus on stretching and massaging (tight muscles).
If you are suffering from aches and pains, especially those not related to an injury, you most likely have some postural imbalances that are very fixable. Try some of these valuable tips to improve your posture better. Of course, posture isn’t something that can be fixed overnight, but the small things you begin today will become a great help in the future.