The Guide to Overcoming Poor Posture (2nd Edition)
by David Bouchard
Gravity is one of the most powerful forces known to science. It affects everything from how heavy objects fall down stairs, to how fast a person runs, and even how much water boils.
But what if I told you that it could be used not only for these purposes but also for improving your physical performance?
You may have heard of the “five senses” – sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. These are all forms of perception that rely on our five sense organs to work together. Our eyes see things; our ears hear sounds; our nose detects odors; and our mouth tastes foods. All of these functions are controlled by different parts of the brain. If you were to remove any one of them, the rest would no longer function properly.
In fact, many scientists believe that if we could somehow control all five senses at once, we might actually be able to achieve some form of consciousness or self awareness. That’s right folks! You can do something similar with your body too!
But what exactly does this mean?
Well let me give you an example…
How To Improve Your Posture For Better Health And Performance!
Recent research indicates that the human body is capable of a lot more than most people would think.
For example, did you know that the average person can lift a truck overhead when their body is heavily tuned?
The reason why this happens is because our bodies are always seeking an optimal state of being, also known as homeostasis. The human body has several ways of achieving this.
One of these is by balancing the muscles that are activated on one side of the body with those on the other. Just like your body balances the oxygen inhaled through your mouth and nose, it also balances muscle activation on both sides.
Think about it for a second – Which shoulder do you tend to roll forward? Which hip swings more when you walk or run? Do you have lower back pain after sitting at your desk all day?
While there are many factors that contribute to these problems, they all have one thing in common: postural imbalance. This is the number one cause of pain and injury in the human body today. Unfortunately, most people treat their symptoms with drugs or surgery instead of addressing the root of the problem. While pharmaceuticals and surgery can be great for emergencies, you really shouldn’t use them to mask an underlying problem that never gets solved.
This guide will teach you several methods to measure and improve your body’s posture. You will learn how to troubleshoot common postural problems and what exercises you can do to fix them. Best of all, you can do these exercises right in the comfort of your own home!
So what are you waiting for?
Let’s get started!
Part I: The Basics Of Posture
In this section, we’ll be talking about the general theory behind muscle balance. We’ll go into detail about some of the most common postural problems and how to fix them.
The Types Of Muscles
There are three types of muscles in your body:
Evolving – These make up most of your muscles and are the most common in everybody. They help you do simple things like walking, running, or even breathing. They can also be easily strengthened or weakened depending on how you use them.
Stabilizing – These are the second most common in your body. They help you perform more complex tasks by stabilizing your joints. For example, your soleus and other calf muscles keep your ankles stable when you walk or run.
Specialized – These are the rarest in your body. There aren’t many of these, but the ones that you do have are essential for life. These include things like your heart and lungs. Unlike the first two types, these muscles are very resilient and cannot be strengthened or weakened.
The Balance Of Muscles
One thing that all three of these muscle types have in common is that they’re connected to each other by nerves and tendons. You may have noticed that when you exercise a certain group of muscles they become larger or harder to notice in some way. This is because the muscles are actually receiving signals from your brain to grow and get stronger.
The opposite is also true. If you don’t use a certain group of muscles for an extended period of time, they will become weaker and smaller. For example, people who don’t use their arms much (like those who work at a desk all day) will find that their arm muscles are not as strong as they could be.
This is because the unused muscles aren’t getting the signals from the brain to stay strong and grow. On the other hand, if you use a certain group of muscles very often, your brain will stop sending as many signals to those muscles. For example, people who use their biceps a lot (like some professional athletes) will often find that their opposite leg becomes weaker because the brain is no longer sending those signals to it anymore.
This is because the muscles are working so much that they’re actually overcompensating for them!
Your posture is defined as the way in which you hold your body while standing or sitting. It’s also known as your “attitude” or “disposition” (the way you are) according to Merriam-webster. Let’s take a look at some of the most common postural problems:
Cumbrella Posture – This is probably one of the most common postural issues after bad sitting posture. Here, the shoulders are rounded forward (hunched) and the head protrudes out as a result. In addition, the upper back tends to be curved causing a slight arch in the lower back.
This posture typically results in neck pain, shoulder pain/tension, headaches, and lower back pain. There are several reasons why this happens such as being habitually tired or stressed out.
Most of us have had this posture at some time in our lives whether it was due to a busy day at work or school, an injury, or just being tired. It’s normal to have this posture every once in awhile, but if you find yourself constantly in this position you should definitely do something about it.
One of the most common reasons for having this posture is a weakness in the core. The core is responsible for maintaining good posture and stabilizing the body. A common exercise to strengthen the core is to practice sitting up straight against a wall. Have your back pressed against the wall and slowly lean forward.
You should feel your back naturally arch slightly. Do not force yourself forward, just lean until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold this position for about 30 seconds and do this exercise several times throughout the day.
Another possible reason to have this posture could be due to your chair. If you spend a lot of time sitting in a swivel chair, this could be forcing you into this position. A good solution to this would be to stand and/or walk around every hour or so. This is also a great way to prevent lower back pain as well.
Lastly, some people tend to hunch over when they’re focusing intently on a specific task such as reading or writing for long periods of time. It’s always a good idea to take frequent breaks while focusing on these activities.
Slouch Posture – The complete opposite of the previous posture, a slouch occurs when the entire body is curved in a forward position. It’s fairly common to see this in students who tend to be relaxed yet still focused.
There isn’t too much harm that comes from having this posture other than the possibility of back pain.
It can be prevented in the same ways as the previous posture. In addition, stretching is an excellent way to combat against this problem. A simple back stretch that is particularly effective is to sit in a chair and slowly lay your head as far back as it can go. Hold this position for up to a minute.
Another way to prevent slouching when studying or reading is to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Keep your back as straight as you can while sitting up in a sturdy chair. Make sure that you’re leaned back slightly, not slouching forward. Place a stack of books or something of the sort behind your back for extra support.
If you feel like this is still not enough, invest in a lumbar roll. They’re relatively cheap and an excellent investment to prevent unnecessary back pain.
There are several other postural problems, but these are probably the most common ones. Remember, the key to fixing these problems is to keep your body as active as possible! Don’t just sit in a chair for hours on end, get up and stretch every now and then.
As you grow older, back pain is an unfortunate reality that everyone has to deal with at some point. There are many reasons why people experience back pain, but it usually involves one of three different things: lack of activity, injury, or postural problems.
Sitting for extended periods of time weakens several parts of the body, namely the core. The core is responsible for maintaining good posture and keeping the body stabilized. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
Injury is also a pretty obvious cause of back pain. Whether it’s a serious injury from a car crash or a minor one from falling off of a chair, your body can only withstand so much harm before something gives.
Lastly, postural problems are an often overlooked cause of back pain. If you spend several hours a day hunched over a desk typing or looking at a computer screen, your body might start to adapt that position even when you’re not working. It can result in a stiff neck or sore lower back.
There are some common treatments for back pain. One of the more popular ones is exercise. Stretching is especially good for people who spend most of their day sitting down. It increases blood flow and range of motion, both of which are beneficial for the body.
Another common treatment is medication. Over the counter pain killers can reduce pain and allow the patient to function normally until the pain goes away on its own.
Regardless of what you do to treat your back pain, one thing is for certain: you need to treat it as soon as you can. Ignoring your pain can lead to several complications, such as organ damage, muscle atrophy, or other ailments.
If you ever experience back pain, try to remain calm and remember that the pain is temporary. Whether you treat it or not, it WILL eventually go away. No need to worry.
Of course, if the pain is serious and does not subside, you should seek immediate medical attention. If the pain is coming from a specific area, such as the lower back, and is accompanied by fever, nausea, or loss of bowel movements, seek immediate emergency care. This may indicate a serious problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
Well folks, that’s about it for today. Hopefully your back doesn’t hurt too much and you can get up and move around for a bit. Remember what we discussed here and try your best to stay active!
Best of luck.
Next time: Foot Care.
Sources & references used in this article:
8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back: Natural Posture Solutions for pain in the back, neck, shoulder, hip, knee, and foot by E Gokhale, S Adams – 2008 – books.google.com
Minding the body: An interdisciplinary theory of optimal posture for musicians by A Shoebridge, N Shields, KE Webster – Psychology of music, 2017 – journals.sagepub.com
The physical costs and psychosocial benefits of travel aids for persons who are visually impaired or blind by LN Gitlin, J Mount, W Lucas… – Journal of Visual …, 1997 – journals.sagepub.com
THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILD AND HIS POSTURE PATTERNS. by EA Davies – 1958 – ERIC
Trunk posture and back pain: identification and control of occupational risk factors by WM Keyserling, L Punnett, LJ Fine – Applied Industrial Hygiene, 1988 – Taylor & Francis
A cancer patient’s guide to overcoming depression and anxiety: Getting through treatment and getting back to your life by D Hopko, C Lejuez – 2008 – books.google.com
Overcoming low self-esteem: A self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques by M Fennell – 2016 – books.google.com