You know the feeling— when you wake up, it’s the first thing to greet you. When you go to bed, it’s the last thing you think about. Small movements throughout the day act as reminders of its presence. Achiness and fatigue seem to dominate your waking hours.
If you’re struggling neck and shoulder pain from poor posture, you know just how much havoc it can wreak on both your body and mind. Who would have guessed your parents were doing you a favor when they told you not to slouch?
Posture not only affects the way your body feels in general but can also be a key contributor to some pretty nasty headaches along the way. The good news? This is totally treatable with the right conservative care.
Your Posture And Pain: Neck And Shoulders
Though poor posture can certainly stem from chronic injury cycles, it can also arise from normal lifestyle choices. From labor-intensive jobs to desk jobs, you may be susceptible to poor posture if they aren’t mindful of your form. If you experience upper body tightness and neck strain after a long work week, you may want to look at your posture at work— and how you relax at home.
The tricky part is the symptoms from poor posture compound over time, slowly. If you find yourself with your head gazing down for long periods of time or slouched over – like at a computer or reading on a mobile device– this puts undue stress on your neck. The muscles, ligaments, and tendons within and around the neck can become strained and the pressure can lead to some wicked tension headaches. These headaches can feel dull and achy, and often get worse when turning your head from side-to-side. In more severe cases, disc degeneration can even occur.
Think about it this way: poor posture (also known as ergonomics) forces certain muscles in your neck and shoulders to overwork in an effort to compensate. And while one day of poor posture isn’t going to be too much of an issue, years upon years of it can actually cause some serious damage when left uncorrected.
Proper Posture At Work
In general, most people with desk jobs struggle to maintain good posture throughout an entire workday and workweek. This is in a big part due to the fact that we were made to move, not to be as sedentary as some of these jobs seem to encourage. However, we know that the modern world makes a good amount of this work a necessity. So how can you ensure you have healthy posture throughout your shift?
One main solution to this is quite simple: move. You just have to be intentional about it, as this usually isn’t built into the job description. What does this mean? Take many small walk breaks. You can make these breaks as a lap to the bathroom, the water cooler, or to say hi to a co-worker. Take simple opportunities to move and use these moments as a chance to reset and check in on your current posture. We promise, the more you do this, the more habitual it will become.
Depending on your office policy, you can also look into using a sit-to-stand desk. The subtle differences between sitting and standing have been known to not only help engage different muscles to maintain good posture but also boost productivity. Score!
How To Build Long-Term Proper Posture
Maintaining good posture is a long-term game. Just like one day of poor posture won’t do you in, one day of good posture won’t correct years of doing it wrong. To reap the benefits from good posture, practice, and consistency are key.
Practice Proper Form And Ergonomics
Shoulders back and down. Head gazing straight ahead. Abdominals engaged. Lower back flat. Most of us know how to engage our bodies in proper posture, however, the trick is being mindful enough to maintain good form throughout our busy days, especially when we start to get tired. Practice proper form by bringing yourself back to the present during small movements throughout the day. For example, when you bend over to pick something off the ground, do you round your back and get a headrush when you stand back up? Or, do you squat, engaging your abdominals, while keeping your back straight? Psst: the correct answer is the latter.
Consult With A Medical Professional
When you’re beginning a new health routine, it’s always best to consult with a medical professional first. Your practitioner can help make sure that there aren’t any bigger underlying issues at play that you may not see, and also help to customize your plan for you. That’s important! Each of us brings different health histories to the table, so a one-size-fits-all approach is never the answer when you’re looking for long-term health solutions.
Stay Mobile – And, Get In A Routine
Again, we know that this one sounds simple, but it’s important! Our bodies were made to move – so use ‘em! Staying active in general will encourage mobility and grant many other health boons along the way.
There are also some great, simple at-home exercises that you can employ to help encourage your posture. Again, your medical professional can help you figure out the best exercise routine to implement for where you’re at in your journey.
How Chiropractic Can Help Your Posture
Through the use of adjustments of the spine, neck, and extremities, chiropractic can help to realign the body and provide relief that can be so desperately needed to help correct poor posture and maintain good posture. Stiffness in one area of the body can affect so much more than just that one area! Chiropractic care can help not only address the pain points you may be experiencing from poor posture but also help give the rest of your body the attention that it also needs through this process.
These gentle adjustments help to decrease inflammation, relieve pressure, reduce nerve irritability, and ultimately allow your entire body to relax and allow healing to take place. By working consistent chiropractic care into your routine, you can help your body maintain better posture, therefore increasing your overall quality of life. That’s a huge win-win. Your practitoner can also help you work in appropriate at-home exercises to accelerate your progress outside of office hours.
Whether you’re looking to tackle your posture problems or are looking to get help proactively, chiropractic care can help.