For the past couple of week, my 24-year-old daughter, Mariella, has been complaining of some intense pain in her shoulders and back. After discussions with me (perks of a Doc-Mom) and a visit to her sports-specialist chiropractor, it became clear that Mariella’s issues were stemming from her rather poor posture. In addition to working long hours hunched over her laptop, Mariella is a professional drummer, and was taught to balance her center of gravity on her drum kit by hovering slightly forward over the instrument. It was quite a surprise for my daughter to learn that her issues were due to poor posture – and it made me consider that perhaps others could benefit from the advice Mariella has been receiving on how to improve the alignment of her spine.
Over time, our daily habits in our careers and our personal lives affect how we carry our bodies throughout the day. 80 percent of American’s experience back pain at some point in their lives, and nearly 90 percent of the population hunch their shoulders! We can attribute much of our daily backaches and pains to poor posture and weak muscles. Correcting these issues is vital to a healthy spine and a happy-looking body. Fortunately, there are many simple steps that one can take to improve posture and prevent future back problems. If this subject is new to you, I encourage you to examine the diagrams I have provided below and learn the importance of STRAIGHTENING OUT!
Why Is It Important To Have Good Posture?
– Good posture improves muscle tone and back strength.
– A straight spine eases the task of breathing and increases blood flow in the body.
– Poor posture is the major contributor to Dowager’s Hump, a common issue in the elderly wherein the spine is visibly hunched (not just osteoporosis!).
– Having a properly aligned spine significantly decreases your risk for back injuryand back pain.
– Sitting up straight improves our appearance! Nobody likes “a slouch!”
Are these reasons enough for you to get yourself “in-line”? If so, begin by taking a look at the article from The Huffington Post which outlines 10 different, highly common scenarios in our daily lives that cause and exacerbate poor posture. You’ll be surprised to find that things like sitting on our wallets or washing dishes can seriously mess with our spines!!! Developing an awareness of one’s posture and the habits which worsen it is the first and most important step to improving our alignment.
Simple adjustments to our daily physical activities can make a huge difference in our posture. However, it is also important to strengthen the muscles responsible for holding us upright. To begin toning up these muscles, check out this simple FitnessBlender exercise video my daughter Mariella passed along to me for use in today’s blog. After just 2 weeks of performing the exercises outlined in the video and maintaining an awareness of her posture, Mariella’s back pain has significantly subsided. Not only is this video appropriate for all ages and equipment-free, it also provides great insight into the importance of good posture and requires no prior experience! (Don’t do any exercise that hurts, and always ask your personal physician if you have questions about any new exercise regimen.)
So check this information out and report back to me with your progress! Have a fabulous weekend!
Dr. Emily Nolfo