Over 20% of Americans live with chronic pain. If you’re one of them, your posture could be making your pain worse, or even be the root cause of your discomfort.
Incorrect posture puts stress on the bones, muscles, and connective tissue in your neck, spine, and hips, which can cause other postural irregularities throughout your body. The stress creates tension, leading to inflammation and swelling, which is painful and can also cause nerve compression and radiating symptoms in your arms and legs.
Everyday situations that cause poor posture
You can have poor posture at any time, whether you’re sitting, standing, walking, or running. And with people spending more time at home, either working from home or social distancing, chances are you’re spending more time on your couch or in your bed.
Sitting on a couch
Modern couches are often deep and squishy, allowing you to sink into the warm embrace of cushions. Unfortunately, as comfortable as this is at the time, your spine curves abnormally as you relax.
Also, whether you’re watching television, reading, playing video games, or participating in yet another Zoom meeting, chances are you need to look down or up to see your screen or book. This compounds the abnormal curve in your spine and leads to muscle tension and pain.
Working on your laptop in bed
Approximately a third of Americans are working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a separate office or workspace, the appeal of staying in your jammies and working in bed is strong.
However, it’s incredibly challenging to maintain correct posture while sitting in bed, especially if you have to tilt your head down to look at your laptop.
Working at a desk
There is a correct posture for working on a computer at a desk. Your feet should be flat on the floor or a foot stand, and your thighs and calves should create a 90-degree angle. Your forearms should be parallel with the top of your desk, and keyboard and your computer screen should be positioned so you don’t have to tilt your head to see the screen. Sound familiar? We didn’t think so.
While you might not sprawl in your chair, many people don’t have their screen at the right height, which leads to head tilting and back hunching. How many days do you go home with a sore neck or back?
Using your smartphone
As useful as it is to have the whole Internet at your fingertips, smartphones are posture destroyers. The average American spends over five hours a day with their heads tilted down to scroll through their phones. Unless you hold your phone up directly in front of your face, but let’s be honest — no one does that.
This puts a significant amount of stress on your neck, contributing to headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, and back pain.
How to improve your posture — and reduce your pain
If you have chronic pain, working with a physical therapist can help. We provide comprehensive exams, including postural analysis, to identify the issues that contribute to your pain.
Then, we work with you to improve your posture with exercises and stretches. For example, many people have a weak core, which leads to slouching. We help you incorporate exercises like crunches, leg extensions, and planks to strengthen your core. We also recommend back exercises like the superman to strengthen your back.
If your posture causes an abnormal gait while you walk or run, we can help you correct muscle imbalances and other issues contributing to postural or mechanical irregularities that cause pain.
Our team of expert physical therapists here at Logos Physical Therapy in Perth Amboy & Somerville, NJ, offers personalized pain management services aiming to address the root cause of your discomfort. If you’re concerned about your posture or live with chronic pain, contact us today for expert diagnosis and treatment.