The 17 Key Steps!
Remember how your mom always told you to stand up straight? She knew what she was talking about! When you slump and slouch, the bad posture that results is a leading cause of back and neck pain, aching shoulders and even headaches.
As you might suspect, sitting or standing for long periods with bad posture stresses and strains muscles throughout your body, eventually leading to muscle imbalances as they become progressively used to being out of proper alignment.
Plus, poor posture has also been linked to conditions you’d probably never associate with a little bit of slouching, like:[i]
- Increased feelings of depression
- Lower energy
- Problems at work, because you appear less confident
- Slowed digestion and constipation
- Increased risk of premature death, diabetes and heart disease
- Making you look fatter
- Decreased circulation
- Lower self confidence
- Increased stress
What is Poor Posture? Three Common Examples
Millions of Americans have chronically poor posture, and virtually everyone has improper posture at one point or another. If you have back pain, neck pain or tense muscles, there’s a good chance your posture could be improved. If you’re wondering, what, exactly, constitutes poor posture, here are some of the most common examples:[ii]
- Hunchback: This is common when sitting hunched over a computer and leads to an excessively curved back. Eventually this posture will weaken your upper back muscles and lead to neck, shoulder and back pain.
- Rounded shoulders: This is also common while sitting and can cause your chest muscles to tighten and your upper back to weaken.
- Forward head: Your head should be in line with your shoulders and spine, but many people hold their head forward while driving, sitting and standing. This can cause tightness in your back and neck muscles, along with neck pain.
How to Correct Your Posture in 17 Steps
It’s pretty instinctual, when reading an article about proper posture, to straighten up and put your shoulders back. But there’s actually more to correcting your posture than this. Here’s a simple guide to correct your posture while sitting, standing and even sleeping.[iii][iv]
- Stand tall with your feet shoulder width apart, your knees slightly bent
- There should be a small curve in your lower back, but don’t arch too much or lean back — your goal should be a neutral spine
- Your shoulder blades should be down and back, your chest lifted
- Keep your chin level so that the highest point of your body is the top back of your head
- Use your stomach muscles for extra support in keeping your body straighter
- Keep your jaw and neck relaxed
Try the wall test:
- Put the back of your head, your buttocks and shoulder blades against a wall
- Your heels should be six inches from the wall
- The gap between your neck and small of your back and the wall should be less than two inches — a larger gap indicates bad posture
Correct Posture When Sitting
- Sit with your feet resting flat on the floor and your hips bent at a 90-degree angle; your knees should be slightly lower than your hips
- Your lower back should be arched slightly
- Keep your chest lifted and your chin level (a book should be able to rest on your head)
- Your shoulders should be back and relaxed
- Avoid slouching, leaning forward, crossing your legs or trying to sit with your spine perfectly straight
- Stand up frequently, as it’s difficult to maintain proper posture during prolonged sitting
- Be sure your chair supports proper posture
Correct Posture When Sleeping
- Choose a firm mattress with comfortable support
- Ideally, sleep on your side using pillows for support; try a pillow between your legs, on your back or under your knees
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach, which puts pressure on the vertebrae in your neck)
- Avoid sleeping with too many stacked pillows, which may strain your neck
Simple Lifestyle Strategies for Better Posture
Even when you know how to correct your posture, maintaining it can be difficult, especially if you’ve grown used to poor posture. If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight can make it easier for you to improve your posture, as can regular exercise, which strengthens key muscles necessary for correct posture.
Still, abnormal postural conditions like those described are almost assuredly causing your muscles, joints and ligaments to function under increased stress and strain, eventually leading to failure (i.e. pain). You must address these issues to permanently relieve your pain and restore proper posture.
First identify and then correct your muscle imbalances!
With the Lose the Back Pain System, you’ll go through a series of self assessments designed to help you pinpoint which postural dysfunctions you have, then you’ll discover a customized series of corrective exercises, stretches, and self-treatments that are unique to your condition and specific muscle imbalances. If you have poor posture, then you almost assuredly have muscle imbalances, and probably related pain and tension, too.
Tens of thousands of people have already used this breakthrough system to eliminate back and neck pain, while improving posture, in less than 30 days, and you, too, can join them now …
Written By: Updated: October 16,2013