Your back is a vital part of how you stand, bend, balance, and support yourself. Your spine, nerves, muscles, and tissue in your back also help to protect your vital organs. Without your spine, there’s no way to support your ribs to protect your heart, lungs, and other organs.

All of these parts of your back also play a role in your posture, which is the overall disposition of your body and controls how you stand, move, and carry yourself. Think of the times you’ve heard someone say to stand up or sit up straight, these are examples of comments on your posture.

Posture is also something we tend to take for granted, but bad posture can adversely affect your health more than you think. If you live in the Medford or Grants Pass, Oregon, area, and you’re dealing with the effects of bad posture, our team of medical experts at Southern Oregon Orthopedics can offer help.

To consider how important posture is, let’s examine how bad posture affects your body, what good posture is, and ways you can achieve and keep good posture.

Understanding bad posture

Improper posture often forms habitually over time, and people with bad posture tend to display signs like rounded shoulders, bent knees while walking or standing, body aches and pains, back pain, muscle fatigue, headaches, and a head that leans backward or forward when walking.

These characteristics result from damage being done to the skeletal muscles and nerves, leading to quicker muscle fatigue, the shortening of muscle length, and the pain felt by muscle contractions from bad posture.

Back pain is a very common result of bad posture, and it’s the leading cause of disability around the world, affecting 65 million Americans according to statistics. Many of the common factors in back pain, such as ligament and muscle strains and ruptured or bulging discs can be caused by bad posture.

Defining good posture

Good posture means having good spinal positioning when moving and maintaining your spine’s natural curve. Your head should be above your shoulders when moving, and your shoulders should be over your hips. A person with good posture when standing has what is known as a strong line of gravity: an imaginary line from your head to your feet when your spine is in natural alignment.

When sitting this means that your ears should be aligned with your shoulders, and your shoulders with your hips. Your forearms should be parallel to the floor and your wrists should be straight. Your hips and knees should be at a 90° angle, and your feet should be flat and rest comfortably on the floor.

Methods of maintaining good posture

Here are some basic ways you can keep your posture aligned and healthy:

Adjust your desk settings

Using the information you already have regarding proper sitting posture, adjust your desk so your monitor is straight and at eye level, keep your shoulders and arms at a 90° angle, and keep your spine in a neutral position.

Move around frequently

Whenever possible, take regular breaks to walk around. If you can’t get away from your seat, vary your movements to keep your body from getting too fatigued in one position.

Use exercises to strengthen your muscles

Increasing fitness can help strengthen muscles affected by bad posture, so try doing superman, core, neck extension, and shoulder blade exercises to get your body back in shape.

Correcting bad posture will take time, but it can be done, and we can help. So make an appointment with the team at Southern Oregon Orthopedics today to start your road to better health. Call our office most convenient to you or schedule your visit online.