|If you want to change the way you feel, change the way you are sitting or standing. A recent study found that your posture has a direct correlation on how you feel mentally. Unfortunately, for people with back pain, this option might not always be available.
The study found that people who slumped throughout the day felt less self-esteem and had a negative mood compared to people who sat upright. The research suggests that posture can help people become more mentally resilient to stress, and supports earlier studies that found muscular and autonomic states are connected.
Please note: This article does not contain healthcare or therapeutic advice. If you are concerned about your health or well-being, speak with a health professional or visit your nearest medical facility in an emergency.
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Importance of Spinal Health
This research also shows how important it is for people who maintain the health of their spines. Keeping a spine in alignment protects more than physical health. When you sit or stand hunched over, your body can respond with acute issues that can become chronic over time. Those include neck and back pain, disc injuries, and eventually, lung compression. People can take steps to learn how to heal a herniated disc naturally, it takes time and may not be possible for people with chronic disc issues.
With so many people hunched forward using their smartphones, there is reason to believe that more people will have problems with their posture. Tilting your head down to look at your phone puts unnecessary pressure on the neck. Researchers are looking closely at text neck and how it affects both neck pain and daily performance. In one study, subjects reported feeling more exhaustion when they spent time looking down at their phones.
Related: 7 Reasons Why a Digital Detox Will Give You Peace of Mind
Mental Health and Posture of Office Workers
Neglecting the posture can cause physical issues, and some people are more susceptible to problems based on their jobs. For example, people who sit in front of a computer are more likely to have weak posture from hunching their shoulders forward during the day. Interestingly, people who work in office jobs are also more likely to have mental health issues when compared to people who work in manufacturing jobs.
While research did not look at whether their posture had an effect on it, the connection between posture and mental health could be a factor. People who sit all day hunched over a computer should take time throughout the day to move and make adjustments to their posture.
Physical Problems Related to Poor Posture
It is clear that poor posture takes a toll on your body and your mind. There are several things we do throughout the day that can damage the body, even if you aren’t doing anything at all. Often, we do not pay attention to our posture until it gets bad enough to cause discomfort. If you have any of these physical issues, you might have posture problems.
Not all headaches are caused by poor posture, but neck muscles can be strained and headaches can be the result. Research shows that headaches and back pain are twice as likely to be a shared problem rather than stand-alone issues. Hunching posture can put pressure on the organs, which can slow digestion. People with poor posture can have difficulty relaxing and falling asleep.
Related: How to Turn Your Bedroom Into a Self-Care Haven
Consider how these problems will affect your mental health. Headaches can be debilitating, and digestive issues can be incredibly uncomfortable. Not being able to sleep well will certainly affect your ability to perform during the day. All of these issues can negatively affect your mental health.
The Role of Posture
With posture having a major effect on both the body and mind, it is important to pay attention to it throughout the day. When people have a bad mood at work, they tend to be less motivated. While having good posture through the day helps people become more productive and successful.
The power pose at work is sitting with the feet on the floor, the shoulders back, and the head in alignment. If you are looking for a raise, your posture can actually help you because you will look and act more motivated. The power pose increases confidence and reduces cortisol, which is the hormone associated with stress.
Posture Can Be Improved
The good news is that you are not stuck with poor posture. There are several things you can do help your spine become aligned. Yoga and gentle stretches can move the spine back into alignment. If you do decide to practice yoga for spine health, you should be careful to follow the alignment cues from your instructor. Yoga can also cause back pain when it is not done properly or when practitioners push themselves beyond their limits.
Related: At Home Morning Yoga Routine
Another fix for poor posture is awareness. Spend a day paying attention to your posture and you will see how often you slouch, stand with one hip jutted out, or stick out your chin while using your computer. Once you notice your improper posture, fix it. Eventually, you will train your body to sit and stand with your head held high, shoulders back, and feet in alignment. Be patient with your postural awareness, as years of standing and sitting improperly takes time to reverse.
Your health care provider can also help you improve your posture. Physical therapists and chiropractors can help you mechanically correct your posture problems with exercises and adjustments. They can also give you exercises that you can do at home to encourage your spine to move back into alignment.
Another easy way to encourage your posture to improve is to wear low-heeled shoes. When women wear high heels, they often adjust their posture to compensate for the unnatural arch in their feet. Women who wear high heels regularly often have low-back pain because the base of their spine moves forward.
Finally, you can also improve your spine health with a supportive mattress. A saggy mattress causes back pain, which can encourage slouching. Waking up with a sore back is practically a guarantee for a bad day. If you haven’t replaced your mattress in more than seven years, it’s probably time to do it for your spine health and your mental health.
About Dr. Wells
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. His practice has treated thousands of patients from different health problems using services designed to help give long-lasting relief.
Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe, Organic Facts, and Thrive Global. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, bio-mechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.
Read More: How to Manage Stress and Anxiety During a Pandemic
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