Our team at Yale Neurosurgery New London, led by Dr. Patrick Doherty, specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the back and neck. You may be surprised to learn that poor posture contributes to and sometimes triggers many of these painful disorders.
The good news? Correcting your posture can relieve your symptoms and prevent future problems. Our team is happy to provide information about posture and how it influences your health.
Posture refers to the position and alignment of the body in space. Static posture refers to how you hold yourself while sitting, standing, or sleeping. Dynamic posture refers to body alignment when walking, running, lifting, bending, or moving.
Good posture involves maintaining the spine's natural curves, keeping the shoulders back and relaxed, and the head aligned with the spine.
While it starts with the spine, good posture has a beneficial impact on hip and knee alignment. It also positively influences the health of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support your back, neck, shoulders, and other joints.
Conversely, poor posture can cause chronic pain and discomfort, impact your breathing and digestion, and even increase your musculoskeletal injury risk.
Six health benefits of improved posture
Because how you sit, stand, and move affects so many areas of your health, improving your posture is key to enhanced wellness. Here are some ways good posture impacts your life.
1. Reduced back and neck pain
One of the most significant health benefits of improved posture is the reduction of back pain and neck pain. Poor posture strains the muscles and ligaments that support the spine, leading to pain and discomfort. Good posture maintains the spine's natural curvature, which is essential for spinal health.
Your spine has three natural curves – the cervical curve, the thoracic curve, and the lumbar curve. When these curves are correctly maintained, your spine can distribute weight evenly, reducing stress on spinal bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments.
2. Reduces the risk of spinal degeneration
The human spine is a complex structure of vertebrae, joints, nerves, ligaments, and intervertebral discs that separate the vertically stacked vertebrae and act as shock absorbers.
Spinal degeneration is a natural part of aging, causing degradation of these spinal structures. However, when the spine is not correctly aligned, uneven wear on the discs and joints accelerates the development of spinal degeneration.
Common conditions related to spinal degeneration include:
- Facet joint arthritis
- Herniated discs
- Slipped discs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Stiffening of spinal ligaments
- Spinal stenosis
- Bone spurs
On the other hand, good posture helps reduce the risks of early spinal degeneration by maintaining proper alignment and relieving pressure on the spine.
3. Reduced risk of injury
When you have poor posture, your muscles and joints are not aligned correctly, which can cause excessive strain and stress on the body. Over time, this strain can lead to chronic pain and injuries. By improving your posture, you can reduce the pressure on your muscles and joints and decrease your risk of injury.
4. Improved focus and concentration
Improved posture can also increase your energy levels and help you maintain focus and concentration. When you have good posture, your body is in a more balanced and stable position, reducing the energy you need to maintain that position. This reduction in energy expenditure allows you to redirect that energy to other tasks, such as mental focus and concentration.
5. Improved respiratory function
Good posture can also improve your respiratory function. When you slouch or hunch over, your lungs have less room to expand, and you may be unable to take deep breaths.
On the other hand, when you sit or stand up straight, your chest cavity is open, and your lungs have more room to expand. This increased lung capacity allows deeper and more efficient breathing, increasing blood oxygenation and improving overall health.
6. Improved digestion
When you slouch or hunch over, you compress your internal organs, including your digestive system. This compression can lead to indigestion, acid reflux, and other digestive issues.
However, good posture allows your internal organs to function correctly, which can reduce the risk of digestive problems.
For more help with posture or other conditions affecting your spine, call Yale Neurosurgery New London today to schedule an appointment.