Do you practice good standing posture? If your answer is anything besides an absolute “YES!” there is a chance that your posture needs work, especially if your job requires you to stand for hours at a time. Thankfully, you have options that allow you to fix this painful problem—without addictive drugs or invasive surgery!
It will be difficult at first, but with hard work and persistence, you can achieve healthy joint alignment. Correcting your posture now can save you pain in the future, and if you are among those already experiencing pain, learning what good posture looks like and making changes to correct it can help alleviate the pain in problem areas.
After reading this article, you will know how to recognize a few signs of poor posture and be able to correct your alignment to reduce, and possibly even eliminate, your pain. Let’s get to work.
How Poor Standing Posture Causes Back and Neck Pain
First, we need to understand the relationship between pain and incorrect standing posture. In the neck and back, pain arises when the vertebrae are repeatedly misaligned for prolonged periods. Holding yourself in a way that bends your spine to an extreme degree puts unnecessary pressure on the joints and can cause a variety of problems, from slipped disks to osteoarthritis. The muscles, ligaments, and tendons attached to these bones can also become stiff and sore from the extra work that you’re making them do. Also it is the accumulation of gravitational stress that leads to the pain and leads to the arthritis or degeneration of the joint in the future. Someone with forward head posture will eventually have neck pain, headaches, upper back pain, and burning, and future DJD for degenerative joint disease in their neck.
How to Correct 3 Common Standing Posture Problems
There are three common stnading posture problems related to pain in various parts of the body:
- Overpronated Feet
- Anterior Pelvic Tilt
- Forward Head Posture
Good posture starts from the bottom up, so let’s start with your feet. Overpronation of the feet, caused by fallen or falling arches, can throw your joints out of alignment, from your knees to your hips to your back, so correcting the way your ankles hold your weight can help immensely as you work toward better posture. Identifying overpronated feet is fairly simple: place either foot on the floor and draw an imaginary line from the crest of your foot, between your big toe and pointer toe, up your shin bone to your knee. Now relax your ankle. If your ankle sinks inward when you relax, you may have overpronated feet.
How you fix this problem depends on whether your arches have fallen: if your arches have completely fallen, orthotics can help give your feet and ankles the support they need to straighten your posture; if your aches are in the process of falling, you may still be able to fix the problem without orthotic intervention. Exercises such as running or walking barefoot can restore strength to the arches. Remember to talk to your doctor or a medical professional before taking up any new exercise regimen, as everybody’s feet are different.
Anterior Pelvic Tilt
Anterior pelvic tilt is another common problem that affects posture. You can usually identify this one by analyzing the tension in your lower back after standing for a long time. The primary cause is prolonged sitting, which shortens the hip flexor muscles, the muscles on the front of your thighs. When your hip flexors are shorter than they should be, they pull the front of the pelvis downward when standing, causing the hips to tilt forward.
Fixing an anterior pelvic tilt takes time, patience, and targeted exercise to strengthen or loosen the muscles and tissues causing the problem. These muscle groups include the hip flexors, as previously mentioned, as well as the lower back, the abdominals, and the glutes and hamstrings. Focus on stretching the hip flexors and lower back and strengthening the glutes, hamstrings, and abdominals.
Forward Head Posture
People with forward head posture usually experience pain in the upper spine and shoulders. Usually, forward head posture arises from tension in the neck and upper back and shoulders. The average head weighs around 10 pounds, so even the slightest misalignment of the neck can result in soreness. If you are concerned that you may be holding your head too far forward, you can find out for sure by having a friend take a picture of you from the side.
Look at the relationship between the acromioclavicular joint, or AC joint for short, and your ear lobe. Are they aligned? Good. If not, you can regain proper neck posture by sliding your head back while keeping your eyes parallel with the floor. Be sure not to tilt your head back when correcting your posture. Relieving the tension in your neck and back with massage therapy can also help make the transition easier.
Now that you know some of the signs of poor standing posture and a few ways to treat it, you can start to take action and regain a pain-free life. Keep in mind, though, that these common posture problems are only a few examples. If you experience pain in other areas, talk to your chiropractor. Be sure to speak with a medical professional like Dr. Mike to make sure that your body is ready to regain good posture.
In addition to handling chiropractic care, Dr. Mike makes custom orthotics overpronation in his office,and has the physical rehab space so they can correct the pelvic tilt in the forward. He is also a biomechanics specialist with over 4 decades of experience.