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When Googling causes of low back pain, have you noticed that many of the websites you find note improved posture can help with your pain?
What does that even mean?
How can you actually adjust how you sit or stand to relive pain?
How do you even go about fixing your posture?
Posture is how you hold your body.
Think of posture as the particular stance you have when sitting, standing, running, walking, sleeping, and even bending over.
There are two types of posture: static and dynamic.
Static posture is how you hold your body when you are still.
Examples include sitting, standing, and sleeping.
The majority of people enjoy using these three postures in their daily routines.
(Who knew that how we sit could cause so many problems in our bodies?)
Dynamic posture is how you hold your body when moving, like walking, running, or working out at the gym.
Your spine and joints love dynamic posture because you’re both allowing your body to move and promoting nutrition to your joints at the same time.
And remember when you were taught the perfect way to pick up a heavy box?
That’s one example of how posture is incorporated into your workday.
A good posture while lifting something heavy can prevent low back, hip, and knee problems.
(And leave your employers happier about the lessened workers’ compensation claims!)
Before you can start to improve your posture, you have to know what proper posture looks like.
Since there are so many different postures in every day, we’ll focus on two of the most popular examples.
Standing is usually the best place to start when it comes to improving your posture.
For a proper standing posture, imagine a string on the top of your head pulling you up to the sky.
This imagined upward pulling motion can help with the daily slumps that most people tend to sink into as the day goes along.
The most important part is to make sure that your ears are back over your shoulders and just ahead of your hips.
Sitting is another popular posture that most Americans use throughout their workday.
It’s a challenging posture to master because so many factors are included.
And, often, the most crucial factor is the chair that you are sitting in.
When sitting, you’ll want to make sure that your feet are flat on the ground, your knees are bent at 90 degrees, and there is lumbar support to help with the arch in your lower back.
Many of us spend long hours sitting at our computers, and it’s important to make sure that your eyes can look into the middle of your computer screen with your head in a neutral position: not looking up or down.
Lastly, to help with the care of your shoulders and arms, you want to make sure that your elbows are also bent at a 90-degree angle while typing on the computer or jotting down notes with paper and pen.
When Bad Posture Strikes Back
Posture is one of the sneaky but straightforward causes of many musculoskeletal pains that many people experience daily.
It sneaks up on us because it takes a while for the repeated bad actions to take effect.
Imagine if you lightly banged your arm against a wall once or twice.
It wouldn’t cause much pain and more than likely not leave any bruises or scratches.
Now imagine that you banged your arm against a wall for 8 hours, five days a week, for the majority of the year (minus those few days a year you don’t have to work).
Odds are you’d see and feel some noticeable changes in your arm!
This is how posture can either work for or against our bodies.
Did You Know
Typing with your head down or looking down at your phone for a few minutes is fine, but if we do this for days, months, or years, our heads actually start to slip forward a few millimeters.
A few millimeter slippages can sound insignificant but can cause extra strain on the smaller muscles in our neck and head.
It leads to headaches, neck pain, and shoulder pain.
In severe cases, this can even cause damage to nerves giving the shooting sensation down the arms and into the hands.
The Top 3 Best Posture Exercises
There are specific reasons to exercise in the medical community – backed by loads of research.
One of those reasons is to maintain a healthy posture.
Coincidentally by maintaining a healthy posture, you can also gain a stronger core, better mindset due to some lovely hormones, and a healthier overall lifestyle.
Here are the 3 best posture exercises.
1. Dead Bugs
Dead bugs are one of the easiest and best posture exercises, and they work with your core muscles in the abdominals and glutes to maintain an upright position.
Do this 10-15 times on each side once per day.
To do this exercise, you lay on your back, making sure it is flat to the ground.
Then lift and hold your arms and legs in the air with your knees bent at 90 degrees.
From this position, you use your abdominals to touch your right hand to your left foot and then your left hand to your right foot.
The bridge is another one of the best posture exercises and targets your core muscles in the abdominals and glutes.
Do this 10-15 times once per day.
To help with the curve in the Lumbar spine or low back and strengthen the butt muscles.
You will lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor to do this exercise.
From there, you will use your abdominal and glute muscles to lift your butt off of the floor into the air making your abdomen level.
Lower back down to the floor after holding for about 5-10 seconds.
3. Chin Tucks
One of the best posture exercises that is often overlooked is the chin tuck. Chin tucks work with your smaller neck and head muscles. They work to maintain a proper head position.
Do this 20-25 times once per day.
To do this exercise, you can stand or sit, tuck your chin and push your head backward.
You want to make sure you are not tilting your head backward but pushing it straight back, keeping the chin tucked.
Hold for 5 seconds.
3 More Easy and Effective Posture Exercises
Another reason doctors will recommend posture exercises is for times when you have injured the muscles or nerves around the musculoskeletal system, like in your low back, neck, or hips.
Our list of the best posture exercises doesn’t stop there – of course not!
Here are three bonus go-to exercises to help you find relief when you’re in pain.
Child’s pose is a widely known yoga position that can help relax the muscles in the low back and loosen the muscles in the hips.
Repeat as many times as you want.
To do this exercise, you will want to start on your knees, gently push your butt back and lay your chest onto your knees or the floor, depending on your flexibility.
From here, stretch out your arms and take deep breaths.
Hold this position for a maximum of 1-1.5 minutes.
Cat / Cow
Cat / Cow is another widely known yoga position that can help safely move the injured muscles.
Do this 10-15 times 1-2 times per day.
To do this exercise, get on your hands and knees with a neutral spine.
From here, you will arch your back, pushing your stomach towards the ground while at the same time tilting your head backward.
Then you will counter that move by rounding your back and bringing your chin to your chest.
Windshield wipers are a posture exercise/stretch that will help with the core muscles on the sides of your abdomen called the abdominal obliques.
Do this 10-15 times 1-2 times per day.
To do this exercise, you will lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground.
Keeping your knees and feet together, you will lower your legs to the right, then lower them to the left.
How Chiropractic Can Help with Posture
Many people ask who they can see for low back pain, neck pain, headaches, or other posture-related problems and questions.
This answer is simple: the chiropractor.
Chiropractors are trained to evaluate posture as a measurement for making adjustments and to recommend strengthening exercises will make a real difference in someone’s life.
The primary tool in a chiropractor’s tool kit is adjustments.
Adjustments are used to help reposition joints so they are used and move appropriately.
Adjustments also help relax the muscles surrounding the joints being targeted, which can help ease tension on nerves and appropriately alter the shape of the spine’s curves.
In addition to the adjustment, chiropractors will use exercise and physical therapy to increase core strength and improve posture.
Like the exercises mentioned above, chiropractors can help patients move their bodies slowly and methodically to help with pain and refine posture.
Interested in learning more about what to expect from working with a chiropractor?
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