POOR POSTURE: THE STRAIGHT STORY
By Kim Safman, MD
Like many things in life, it turns out your mother was right. Poor posture
is not just a bad habit or a sign of decreased confidence. Numerous studies
have proven that poor posture puts pressure on the disks inside the spinal
column and can lead to low back pain, tension headaches and neck problems.
The stress that poor posture exerts over time can also lead to degeneration
of the spinal disks and may require more invasive treatment. Is it really
so difficult to stand up straight?
Small children who are learning to walk exhibit perfect posture. It allows
them to maintain perfect balance as they begin exploring the world on
two legs, rather than on all fours. That’s a clear indication that
good posture comes naturally to us, and poor posture is actually an acquired
habit. A lifetime of bad posture can eventually make you feel like you
should be on all fours!
What is the ideal posture? Stand straight up against a wall, with your
heels, buttocks, upper back and head touching the wall. This position
is the ideal alignment of your spine. It allows your back muscles to support
the disks and maintains the ‘s’ curve that characterizes correct posture.
While it may feel odd if you have been slouching for years, a little effort
to maintain correct posture will have a big payoff. It won’t take
long before good posture becomes a habit, and you’ll go a long way
toward avoiding the nagging health problems that plague those who don’t
stand erect—a small trade-off for doing what comes naturally.