One good thing about sitting or standing up straight is that you get to look life straight in the eye! Did you think about that? Remember the high school teacher or your mother constantly nagging you to ‘sit up straight!’ or yelling ‘don’t slouch’ from even across the room. Like most nagging, these warnings went ignored.
Turns out, belligerence may turn our rigidity into a poor posture when we make it a habit. When you are young, there are fewer chances of your body getting affected by this. However, there is no room for mistakes when you start aging as your body may lose vitality (1). This is when your wrong posture may lead to chronic pain (2). If you want to know more about the effects of posture in chronic pain and how you can exercise to deal with it, dive in deeper.
What is good posture anyway and why it is important?
A posture can be scientifically explained as the related disposition of the body parts in association with the physical position, such as sitting, standing and lying down. Good posture involves a straight spine, which controls the actual curve of the back in the human body. If you stand, sit and lie in a good posture, it helps ease the strain on your body by keeping the balance of the muscles and skeleton. As a bonus, the balanced musculoskeletal state maintains the supporting formations in your body and diminishes injury or gradual deformation in all positions (3). Compare a comma to an exclamation mark and you will know the difference a good posture can make.
Other physical reasons for a good posture include:
- A good posture is vital to develop flexibility, strength, and balance in your body (3, 4).
- It is also known for reducing the stress on joints and muscles, which can lessen pain and the risk of injury (5).
- Good posture may alleviate shoulder pain in people with the help of improved postural awareness (2).
- It is also beneficial in reducing respiratory muscle strength which makes your breathing easy and comfortable (6).
- Moreover, a posture may also affect positive emotions, thoughts, and energy level (7).
Role of Body Posture in Pain Management
Good posture promotes good health. It helps lower excess stress on your muscles, joints, and spine – thereby reducing pain and boosting productivity. Similarly, a bad posture may lead to pain and physical disability as well as problems in appearance. It may also have several negative effects on your spine (3).
Therefore, it becomes important to embrace good posture for having a comfortable and healthy life. The specific ways in which we sit, stand and walk are among the best of all healthy habits. Incidentally, these postures – how we ‘conduct’ and ‘carry’ ourselves – go a long way in reflecting our personality. For the same reason, improving your posture may be just as challenging as discontinuing smoking or potato chips. However, we have some effective and simple exercises to change your bad habits of slouching, crouching and so on into good ones.
Exercises That Correct Your Posture
- Pilates is a good starting point to improve your posture for a comfortable and pain-free lifestyle. A study conducted by Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences showed that the clinical Pilates course enhances postural awareness and flexibility of physical therapy among students and other people (8).
- In order to correct your posture and to strengthen your body shape, you may start your exercise program with a deep breath and straightening shoulders and flanks. It may also help improve concentration and focus (3).
- Calf stretching is another important physical activity which is known for having health benefits including postural awareness and pain management (3).
- Once you are done with the basics, you can start with some more advanced exercises such as pelvic tilt exercise and spine flexibility exercise. These exercises may help reduce pain in the shoulder, neck, middle back and lower back, and also in the pelvic region (3).
- Stretching your body including head, neck and abdominal muscles is also great for more improvement and for correcting faulty posture (3, 9, 10).
With these practices, the correct posture for sitting, standing, and lying down will gradually and permanently replace your old position. Good posture is beneficial for you, especially when it comes to managing body pain. Sometimes external motivation and suggestions are good to really make a change. In fact, you may require detailed information about the problem or pain you are suffering with. If you are experiencing severe pain that does not go away with these exercises, then you should make an appointment with your health care specialist. Meanwhile, you can download our free EBook to understand how to deal with chronic pain and inflammation. Click on the button below to get a copy today!
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements and/or product(s) described in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease, illness or health condition. It is advisable to consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet or dietary supplement program.
- “In a slump? Fix your posture”. Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/in-a-slump-fix-your-posture
- Cramer, Holger et al. “Postural awareness and its relation to pain: validation of an innovative instrument measuring awareness of body posture in patients with chronic pain.” BMC musculoskeletal disorders. 19(1): 109 ( 2018). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5889545/
- Kim, DeokJu et al. “Effect of an exercise program for posture correction on musculoskeletal pain.” Journal of physical therapy science. 27:6 (2015): 1791-4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4499985/
- “Why good posture matters”. Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/why-good-posture-matters
- “posture : Align yourself for good health.” Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/posture-align-yourself-for-good-health/art-20269950
- Albarrati, Ali, et al. “Effect of Upright and Slouched Sitting Postures on the Respiratory Muscle Strength in Healthy Young Males.” BioMed research international 2018 (2018). https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2018/3058970/
- Peper, Erik, et al. “Increase strength and mood with posture.” Biofeedback. 44:2 (2016): 66-72. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303540780_Increase_Strength_and_Mood_with_Posture
- Atilgan, Esra et al. “Examining the postural awareness and flexibility changes in physical therapy students who took clinical Pilates class.” Pakistan journal of medical sciences. 33:3 (2017): 640-644. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5510118/
- Hrysomallis, Con. “Effectiveness of strengthening and stretching exercises for postural correction of abducted scapulae: a review.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 24:2 (2010): 567-574. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20072041
- Tunwattanapong, P., Kongkasuwan, R., & Kuptniratsaikul, V. (2016). The effectiveness of a neck and shoulder stretching exercise program among office workers with neck pain: a randomized controlled trial. Clinical Rehabilitation. 30:1(20150): 64–72. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269215515575747#articleCitationDownloadContainer