There are many benefits of good posture, like helping you avoid back and neck pain. Improving your posture also enhances circulation and digestion while allowing you to breathe properly.
At OrthoBethesda, we sometimes receive inquiries for posture surgery. But we prefer to help you learn how to achieve better posture through physical therapy and good posture exercises. Patients who learn how to obtain better posture this way won’t need surgical procedures.
Here are 10 of the steps you can take to achieve great posture starting today:
1. Use a Standing Desk
Avoid sitting down for long hours. If you work at a desk all day, consider getting a standing desk. This will encourage you to move around more often. You can order a standing desk online or get creative and pile up books on your normal worktable to create a platform for your laptop and notepad.
2. Do Upper Body Exercises
Act as if you’re pulling or rowing or use other exercises to pull the shoulder blades down. In addition, you should stretch and move to lengthen the muscles in front of the body. This includes your biceps, forearms and large muscles above your hips.
3. Straighten Up
It’s important to know how to stand correctly. You can prevent posture problems by standing up tall. Act as if you’re standing up against a wall to have your height measured. Keep your head straight and tuck your chin in. Then, pull your shoulders back, tuck in your stomach and keep your knees straight. Let your head stretch toward the sky and position your ears above the center of your shoulders.
4. Don’t Slump or Slouch at Your Desk
It may be comfortable to lean back or slouch at your desk, but this may damage your posture. Your internal organs will be compressed, taking a toll on your breathing and digestion.
Instead of slouching and leaning back, sit upright and put a lumbar cushion behind your back. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor and your knees bent at 90 degrees at the same height as your hips.
5. Sleep Right
When you go to bed at night or take a nap during the day, don’t forget about your posture. Avoid using a soft, saggy mattress. Instead, sleep on a firm mattress that maintains your spine’s natural shape.
If you like sleeping on your back, avoid a thick pillow and choose a small one that fits nicely beneath your neck. If you sleep on your side, bend your knees a bit and put one pillow under your head to raise it to the level of your spine.
6. Become Conscious of Your Posture
You must be aware of how you stand, sit and carry yourself throughout the day. Remember that posture is a product of habit. When you’re conscious of your bad habits, you’ll can work to change them and start new ones.
Let someone take a photograph of you standing or sitting randomly during the day. Take note of your posture and when you have back pain. It’ll help you discover whether sitting for eight hours at your desk or sitting behind the wheel is causing you to have repeated back or shoulder pain.
7. Strengthen Your Abdominal Muscles
When you strengthen your core muscles, you’ll be able to stand straight or sit in an upright position for a long time. Your abdominal muscles work with your lower back muscles to support your spine. The core muscles enable you to keep your back straight throughout the day.
When you have weak abdominal muscles, you’ll have pain in your lower back because they’ll have to compensate for weak core muscles. One of the easiest ways to improve posture and reduce back pain is to strengthen your core.
8. Make Small Improvements During the Day
It’s not easy to suddenly change your posture within a day or two. When you’re just starting out, you’ll need time to become conscious of your posture and take corrective steps.
You can make steady progress towards better posture if you spend about five minutes at a time working on your posture during the day. For instance, start by maintaining an upright sitting posture for five minutes every morning. Do this until you can sustain it for a longer period. You can also stand upright or stand against a wall for five minutes at a time.
9. Consult a Physical Therapist
Working with a physical therapist who is an expert in improving posture will transform your life. Your posture will be analyzed, and you’ll be given the right type of exercises to improve stability, balance, strength and gait. Working with a therapist will also relieve you of pain and help increase muscular strength and joint range of motion.
10. Avoid Wearing Shoes With Thick Soles
Putting on shoes with thick soles or high heels can damage your posture. Stilettos or pumps can push the bottom of your spine forward to create an over-arch at your back. This will put pressure on your spine and cause back pain.
Stand with bare feet to help build the muscles in your feet and develop a solid base for good posture. If your feet are strong and well-aligned, they’ll improve your posture. Walking on grass or sand also helps you improve feet stability and strength.
Learn More About Correcting Your Posture
If you’re feeling pain in your lower back because you sit or stand for long hours, or you notice that you aren’t maintaining correct body posture, then give us a call today. Our physical therapists and orthopedic doctors can help you create a convenient exercise routine that enables you to develop balance, stability and strength.