Your body posture comes instinctively. You never really mind slouching over your laptop or always favouring one side while standing — until your shoulders, neck, and back start to ache. For a while, you may reject the discomfort, but it’s your body’s method of drawing your attention to itself.
Ignoring basic posture advice can ultimately have negative health consequences. Your muscles are overworked as a result of poor posture, and as your immune system attempts to restore those muscles, your general well-being could be compromised.
How Does Posture Affect Your Health
1. Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain
Poor posture puts more strain on the spine, causing injury to the vertebral discs and muscles, as well as an increased risk of neck, shoulder, and back pain. It can also cause the lumbar muscles to shorten and tighten, contributing to undesirable tightness and lower back pain.
However, make sure you also don’t overcompensate by bringing your shoulders back too much on your own, as this can cause muscle stress and stiffness. Back pain can be induced by “military posture” or when a person tries to stand or sit up ramrod straight, raising his or her chest and overworking the lower back muscles. Your lower back will overstretch if you push out your chest too much.
2. Head and Jaw Pain
Likely, some persons who have stiffness, tension, or pain in their head and jaw are actually suffering from the consequences of poor posture. Bad posture can cause tight neck muscles and disrupt your spine’s natural curvature, resulting in headaches. As you may spend more time bending forward, it increases your chances of clenching your jaw. This is why “jaw clenchers” frequently fail to notice the link between their posture and the pain they’re experiencing. Your face muscles tense as a result of clenching your jaw, causing pressure to radiate throughout your head, face, and neck.
While it may seem counterintuitive, you can become exhausted while sitting, especially if you’re doing it improperly. Poor posture causes stress and compression in the wrong parts of your body, and this can drain energy levels fast. Additionally, your body is compensating for the added weight and compression rather than relaxing. Your joints, ligaments, bones, and muscles all show signs of tiredness eventually.
4. Mood Changes
Poor posture could be causing your stress and persistent negative mood. A study from Health Psychology outlines the negative effect of bad posture in personality development. People who sat hunched or slumped showed higher anxiety, lower self-confidence, and poorer dispositions than those who sat up straight. They were also more likely to use negative words than positive words. Not only may poor posture contribute to depression, but excellent posture can also help to combat depression and enhance people’s moods. In another study, people with depression showed improved self-esteem after sitting with good posture.
5. Poor Circulation
Improper circulation in the body can be caused by poor posture. This is particularly true when poor posture is combined with prolonged sitting. Sitting for long periods of time and cutting off your body from healthy blood flow can be harmful to your health. Bad posture’s impact on your cardiovascular system can occasionally be seen on your skin. Poor blood flow is a common cause of varicose veins. Because the walls of the veins of the legs are notoriously thin, these unsightly veins could be one of the long-term effects of bad posture.
6. Breathing Difficulty
It’s possible that respiratory problems, such as unexplained shortness of breath, are caused by poor posture. When you hunch forward, you’re limiting the amount of air you can take in with each breath. Over time, this might cause symptoms including shortness of breath or dizziness. Furthermore, chronic breathing problems caused by this form of restriction can deprive your essential organs like the brain and heart of oxygen.
7. Poor Digestion
It’s probable that your “tummy problems” are caused by bad posture. Unfortunately, not everyone can put the puzzle pieces together to figure out why they are in pain, uncomfortable, or bloated when bad posture is to blame. Many people who suffer from gastrointestinal problems as a result of poor posture spend a lot of time sitting at a desk. The downward pressure from slouching shoulders on the abdomen might compress important organs in the digestive system. The passage of food through your digestive tract might be changed or constrained by poor posture. This can have a significant impact on your ability to digest meals and absorb nutrients. Additionally, your posture could also be the reason for your sluggish metabolism because the constriction has the potential to slow down your body’s ability to metabolize food.
8. Spine Problems
When it comes to incorrect posture, back pain isn’t the only danger. Poor posture can also have a significant impact on spine integrity. Your spine has a natural curve. Hunching your back, bending your neck, or lowering your shoulders alter the shape of your spine over time by distorting spinal curves in your neck, back, and lower back. Changes in your spinal curves can hurt your entire body, causing everything from discomfort to a loss of movement.
9. Nerve Constriction
Poor posture can lead your spine and other bones to change their position over time, pushing your skeletal system to come into contact with your nerves. Nerves that have been “pinched” can produce discomfort not only in the back and neck but also in other places of the body.
Because the nerves in the neck and upper back influence muscle function in the arms, wrists, and hands, poor posture can cause problems in these areas, some resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome can also be caused by poor wrist position. While it’s crucial to keep an eye on your upper body posture, hand posture, especially while typing, is also an important factor.
10. Impaired Sexual Function
Another side effect of bad posture has something to do with your sexual function. Posture shortens and contracts the pelvic floor muscles, which are major sexual muscles, and as a result, can have a significant impact on men’s and women’s sexual function. When the pelvic floor muscles are stiff and weak, they are unable to exercise their full force and vigour, resulting in poor or absent orgasms. Men could experience reduced stamina and ejaculations, while women may have lower libido and fewer orgasms.
Your posture encompasses more than just how you walk, sit, or stand. Poor posture can have negative consequences for your physical, mental, and emotional health. It’s not easy to correct poor posture on your own. Sometimes, you’ll need professional assistance to get it right. Chiropractic adjustments could help you improve your posture to feel better, healthier, and happier.
Westwood Physiotherapy and Wellness offers chiropractic treatment to help you maintain your well-being and quality of life. Call us at 519 341 5161 to book an appointment.