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The Importance of Good Posture for a Healthy Back and Neck
The instructions “stand up straight!” may ring in your ears from childhood, but it turns out it was good advice. Good posture matters when it comes to a healthy back and neck. Poor posture can be considered repetitive misuse of your spine and related muscles, and repetitive misuse contributes to injuries. Good posture involves maintaining your spine’s natural curves and allowing your muscles to function as they should, so poor posture negatively affects the health of your back and neck.
There are a number of things that contribute to correct posture. How you sit, stand, move, position your body, and even sleep can all affect your posture. An experienced physician like Dr. Charla Fischer in NYC can give you tips for improving your posture. Here are some common recommendations.
Try to maintain a neutral position with your head, which means not holding it too far forward, backward, down, or up. Hold your head straight with a slight tuck of your chin.
Strive to bring your shoulders back instead of rotating them forward or hunching them over. One way to tell if your shoulders are rounded is by standing in front of a mirror with your arms hanging naturally. If your knuckles are facing forward, it usually means your shoulders are rounded instead of being held back.
Sit with your back straight and your shoulders back, keeping your head back over your shoulders to maintain your neck’s normal curve. Don’t sit at the front of the chair, but lean straight back against a lumbar support when possible. Evenly distribute your body weight and try not to cross your legs, keeping your knees at a 90 degree angle and your feet flat on the floor. If you are working at a desk, adjust the chair height so you sit closely and can practice good posture. Stand up and move around every half hour so that you don’t sit for extended lengths of time.
Lifting heavy or awkward items can be dangerous for your back. Ask for help lifting objects over 30 pounds. When lifting anything, stand with both feet spaced evenly and bend using your knees instead of your back. Once you pick up the object, if you need to change directions, do so by turning your foot in the new direction instead of twisting at your waist.
Correct posture is important even when laying down to sleep. The goal is to maintain your spine’s natural curves. Using a pillow for leg support is a great way to help achieve good posture while sleeping. Place a pillow under your knees when laying on your back, or between your legs when laying on your side. Avoid sleeping on your stomach because that is the worst position for placing strain on your neck and back. Experts suggest choosing a firm mattress to help support your spine while sleeping.
Dr. Fischer is here to help with your posture questions so that you have the best chance for a healthy neck and back. Schedule an appointment with Dr Fischer for advice so that you may be able to avoid future problems or pain in those areas.