We’ve all been there – you walk by a mirror and suddenly catch a glimpse of your posture, and you’re a bit hunched over. “Goodness,” you think, “I really need to stand up straight!”
Most of us have always known that a slumped posture isn’t good for our health. In fact, a less-than-straight spine can make you look and feel less confident.
But poor posture can also wreak havoc on your orthopedic health, thereby leading to a variety of chronic and painful musculoskeletal conditions.
How Can Poor Posture Affect My Health?
Poor posture can eventually cause misalignment of the spine with the knees when standing and walking. For those of us who suffer from arthritis, bad posture can worsen the condition by putting pressure on one part of a joint rather than dispersing the weight across the body evenly.
Poor posture may even contribute to the development of osteoarthritis (OA), which is an autoimmune disease that wears down the cartilage in the joints. Weak back muscles can certainly worsen one’s posture, so part of walking tall is building muscle strength to even out your posture and the load that each joint carries.
Posture and Neck Pain
Neck pain and tension headaches are a frequently reported problem for those with bad posture. After all, the human head weighs almost a dozen pounds, which is a heavy load for the neck.
As the neck bends downward – a common form of posture these days, thanks to those long hours spent hunched over desks, or fidgeting with electronic devices like smartphones – this huddled posture can lead to spine degeneration, pinched nerves, herniated discs, and the need for serious surgical procedures. Additionally, if the alignment of the head isn’t correct, you may be more susceptible to injury and other musculoskeletal maladies such as a rounded upper back and forward shoulders.
How Bad Posture Affects the Shoulder
When the muscles between the bones in the shoulder are injured, it’s called shoulder impingement. This can occur when the rotator cuff tendons press against the coracoacromial arch of the shoulder.
While repetitive overhead movements (during work or play) are often the culprit of shoulder impingement, poor posture may also be to blame. Simple posture changes such as rolling your shoulders back and being more mindful of your sitting and standing habits can help.
The Wall Test to Check Your Posture
A good way to gauge your posture now is by utilizing the wall test.
Stand with your back against a wall, making contact with the hips, upper back, and head. This is proper alignment – and you’ll feel the difference proper alignment can make.
Orthopedic Surgeon in Upstate New York
If you’re looking to try posture exercises, seek the advice of a reputable orthopedic specialist.
A full-service orthopedic center, North Country Orthopaedic Group™ offers a host of services to assist our patients in reclaiming or developing improved posture. From physical therapy exercises to maintain mobility, to a full-service spine program with experts in a variety of specialties (including degenerative disc disease and pinched nerves), North Country has the comprehensive care you’ve been searching for.
If you require surgery, all of our surgeons are board-certified or board-eligible. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call our offices today at (315) 782-1650 or fill out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you walk tall again!