Over the past couple decades, technology has dramatically transformed our lives, mostly in positive ways. But technology has its downside, causing us to become more sedentary, and setting us up for bad posture.
Long hours spent sitting at a work station, repeatedly looking down at your phone, and binging on TV and movies during leisure time encourages slouching, poor muscle tone and overall poor health due to physical inactivity.
Here are just a few of the negative health consequences of poor posture:
Headaches: Migraines and cervicogenic headaches originate in the neck, where compressed nerves and restricted blood vessels affect neural messages and blood circulation to the brain.
Neck and Jaw Pain: Text neck and tech neck are two fairly recent postural syndromes that are causing people to seek treatment for neck pain. Slouching when sitting or standing can make the condition worse, placing pressure on nerves and causing painful muscle spasm. Poor head and neck alignment can also cause jaw pain and TMJ dysfunction.
Low Back Pain: Sitting for long hours with poor posture weakens your core and causes pelvic instability. Pelvic weakness in turn can cause the nerves that affect the low back to become compressed or entrapped, leading to chronic low back pain.
Poor Balance: Maintaining good balance while standing or walking depends on the ability of your muscles to work together in a coordinated fashion to hold your body upright. Poor posture causes some muscles to become weak, and others to become tight, inhibiting your ability to achieve and maintain optimal balance, and increasing your risk of falls and injury.
Knee Pain: Poor posture shifts your body weight forward and off-center, placing extra load on your knees to compensate. Standing with your knees locked out is an example of postural compensation. Good posture favorably distributes your body weight and takes a load off your knees.
Shoulder Pain: Slouching causes muscle imbalances in the shoulder girdle that can place pressure on nerves and muscles. Weakened upper back muscles from slouching can cause instability in the shoulder blade that can cause a gradual onset of rotator cuff imbalance, pain and injury.
Poor Gait Mechanics: Bad posture during walking or running can cause a number of musculoskeletal imbalances that set you up for injury.
Poor Digestion: Sitting in a curled up or slouched position compresses your vital organs and digestive tract, slowing the digestive process and leading to problems with incontinence and constipation.
Sexual Dysfunction: Excessive sitting combined with poor posture can weaken the muscles of the pelvic floor that underlie sexual performance. For men, a weakened pelvic floor can reduce stamina and cause weakened ejaculations. Women with weak pelvic floor muscles may experience pain during intercourse, reduced arousal and infrequent orgasms.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: The nerves that originate in your neck and upper back run down your arm to control the muscles of your wrists, and hands. Poor posture can place pressure on the median nerve that runs through the carpal tunnel at your wrist, causing painful carpal tunnel syndrome.
In addition to reducing pain and protecting your health, good posture projects a positive confident image. The physical therapy team at NYDNR can analyze your postural habits when sitting, standing and walking, and we can help you make long-lasting changes. Don’t let bad posture ruin your health. Contact us today and discover your very best posture for everyday health.