According to statistics, in any 3-month period, about one in four adults in the U.S. has at least one day of back pain. Bad posture is the most common reason for back pain that can negatively affect your flexibility, balance, and your ability to do regular things.
Unfortunately, multiple factors can lead to bad posture. This common problem can also lead to a host of health issues including back pain, frequent headaches, constipation, poor sleep, disrupted digestion, and pinched nerves. Although you may not see the effects of poor posture now, over time, this problem will worsen resulting in lots of health issues and even disability. It’s important to address the problem and get the treatment in time to prevent unpleasant consequences. While you’re waiting for your pain specialist’s appointment, read some common myths about bad posture:
1. Sitting in front of a computer all day is not ruining your posture.
Yes, that’s true. Working in front of a computer all day can make you jut your neck forward and hunch your shoulders. If you're not ergonomically correct, you will get both neck and back pain.
To prevent these effects, choose ergonomically designed desk chairs at work. If you spend a lot of time on the phone at work, use a headset. Your neck muscles will not contract unevenly.
2. Crossing your legs will cause varicose veins.
Crossing your legs won’t lead to varicose veins but it still has some negative effects. Crossing the legs can provoke lower back pain. Crossing one leg over the other contributes to increased pressure, and if your veins are closer to the surface, they will show up more prominently. This problem is called spider veins and is more prevalent among women due to crossing the legs.
3. Bad posture is only a genetic issue.
Though bad posture can be the result of your genetic predisposition, that doesn't mean others can’t develop it. Even if your bad posture is genetic, it's still treatable.
Tightening and strengthening your core (the center of your body) can help correct your posture. This will make it easier for you to sit and stand up straight and will help you avoid pinched nerves. Good posture is just one of the good benefits of having a strong core that has nothing to do with aesthetics. Consider trying pilates. You will the exercises you need to build deep core strength.
4. Slouching is harmless and can only make you look bad.
That’s false. Bad posture has numerous negative health consequences and can actually be serious. When you slouch, your head and shoulders come forward.
This results in jaw pain, frequent headaches, and shoulder and back pain. Plus, if the mechanics of your spine are not aligning correctly, it can impact your rib cage, which can damage your heart and lungs, and trigger gastrointestinal problems.
5. Poor posture contributes to scoliosis.
That’s not true as well. Most cases of scoliosis are idiopathic which means they occur for an unknown reason. However, there is no known connection between posture and scoliosis.
Scoliosis only includes side-to-side curves. There are also curves in the front-to-back plane of the spine, and these can be increased or decreased as a result of hunching and slumping, so you should sit up straight.
6. It’s impossible to alleviate the effects of poor posture.
No, that’s up to you! There are lots of options that can improve poor posture and alleviate symptoms. You can do special exercises, try physical therapy, and get massages. You can also try weight workouts and stretches that focus on the neck, shoulders, and back to improve muscle strength.