Your mother was right when she told you to stand up straight – good posture is important! In fact, it’s the major factor determining whether you develop back pain as you grow older, according to a survey of 1,200 women commissioned by the British Chiropractic Association.
According to the association, there are five “posture profiles”:
- Spoon – flat back, rounded shoulders
- Leaning tower – head leans forward
- Bridge – arched back
- Flat-pack – flat back
- Normal posture – ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles in line
The worst posture is a leaning tower, where the head leans forward. The bridge posture, with an arched back, is the second worst. That is followed by a spoon position, with rounded shoulders.
Lifestyles today encourage poor posture. As adults, we lug briefcases and bags to work. We spend hours hunched over a computer screen at work or at home. As for our kids, they lug heavy backpacks to and from school and, like us, they spend hours with their heads down, texting or catching up on the latest social media gossip.
The first step is awareness. Pay attention, whether you’re sitting, standing or lying down.
- When sitting, keep both feet on the floor or a footrest, don’t cross your legs and use low-back support.
- While standing, keep your knees slightly bent, relax your arms and pull your shoulders back.
- When lying down it’s critical to choose the right mattress and pillow, and avoid sleeping on your stomach.
To improve your posture, focus on exercises that strengthen your core – the sets of muscles around your waist and lower back. These do most of the work of maintaining proper posture.
Pilates, yoga, and the set of core-strengthening exercises recommended by the North American Spine Society are helpful ways to strengthen your core. Be sure you don’t overdo it, however, as that can lead to more problems.
Resistance exercises – especially pull-ups and rowing — give your muscles the strength to stay in certain positions. These exercises will get your upper body used to staying in an upright position, with the back in a straight or right angle.
You might also want to pay a visit to Posture Works in San Francisco’s financial district, where Drs. Scott Levin, Jason Miller and Corey Todhunter specialize in Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP. CBP’s goal is to realign your posture so your body can function properly. Only a handful of chiropractors in San Francisco are trained in the discipline.
Posture Works chiropractors have helped thousands of San Francisco Bay Area residents regain their health and vitality through chiropractic. Contact our San Francisco/Financial District corrective chiropractic office at 415-373-3897 to find out if you qualify for care.