Your posture is very important to your everyday health. Some say its the window to your spine. How you look and feel depend a great deal on Posture. We have all heard our mothers and fathers say, " Sit up in Your Chair, Stop Slouching" or "Stand up Straight"- these words can be harsh, but they are so true. Bad posture can cause you pain in many areas such as the neck, upper back, mid back and lower back area. Lets talk more about posture, so that you can have the best posture possible
How Do I Check My Posture?
A few key points to Look at when analyzing your posture or someone else's The quickest way to see yourself is what? - Looking in the mirror, Right! Looking at our neck posture is the absolute simplest way to figure out why you experience neck pain. It's also a great tool to use to prevent future neck pain and cervical degeneration. This article explains how we can understand what we are looking for in our neck posture, how to check our posture, and why it's so important.
It can be hard to see what your own Posture is. Have a trusted friend look at your posture for you. Or look at yourself with a full length mirror
What Type of Posture Do You Have?
Are one of these your Postures?
A Common Posture MisAlignment
Forward Head Posture
Anterior Head Carriage The most common postural shift we see is forward head- this is where the head and neck ar forward of where they should be. Keep in mind a lot of us also have shoulders that roll forward, so picture them where they should be.
Other variables that may throw off your analysis besides forward shoulders, might be a crooked nose, ears that are different, or a jaw that is shifted. Keep this in mind when you are viewing your neck posture.
Another Way to Check Posture
Simple technique, all you need is a camera
Another great way to analyze this is take a picture with a digital camera. It's easy to look at your anterior-posterior posture in the mirror. Your lateral posture is more difficult to analyze. A picture with a camera works great. A standing x-ray is even better because it will show exactly what your spine looks like. If the spine is shifted your posture will be shifted.
Also look at old pictures you may have. Break out those family photos from last Christmas and look at your posture, you'll learn a lot.
A tip to get your actual posture is to close your eyes, march in place a couple times, then relax and open your eyes while looking in the mirror or have someone take your picture. With your eyes open looking at your posture you will try to correct yourself without even knowing it. Another option is to just close your eyes and shake out your body. Basically, what I mean is to shake out your arms and legs, loosening up, and then stop where you think is straight. You might be surprised at what you find.
What is the Perfect Posture, and CAN I ACHIEVE IT?
type=text From the front view your posture should be straight up and down- to see this in the mirror your shoulders and the tops of your hips should be even. You can look at points in your mid-body also to see if there are any shifts in your spine. For example, your shoulders may look even or level, but when you try to line up the point midline to your eyes to your to the middle of your chin to your Adam's apple things don't line up.
Looking at your whole body, a straight line should be able to be drawn from the point between your eyes to your Adam's apple, to your groin (the point of the "V" where your legs meet, to a point midline between your ankle bones).
Looking at your posture from the side, the ear should line up with the front to middle of the shoulder, and further down to the hip, and to the ankle bone.
- Morihei Ueshiba
Sway back posture is when the body tilts backward. This typically happens one of two ways. The first happens when your body tries to correct for forward head posture. When your head goes forward it also tilts down slighly. Your body however tries to keep your eyes even with the horizon so it extends back in the lumbar spine. The other way this happens is in people who are carrying extra weight in their mid section. They tend to extend backward to balance the weight. You can use a posture corrector to correct your posture.
Hyper Lumbar Lordosis Posture
Increased curve in the lower back spine area Hyperlordosis is an increased curvature of the lumbar spine. Any increased or lost curve of the spine will put unwanted pressure on nerves.
Hunch back posture- your upper mid back juts out type=text This is also called a hyperkhyphosis. The thoracic curve is known as a khyphosis, whereas your cervical and lumbar spine are lordotic curves. This posture often happens in conjunction with forward head as well. When the head pulls forward the upper thoracics sometimes hunch up creating a "hunch back look".
Your Head is way forward than it should be. Foward Head Posture A popular posture that many people have. It often occurs when someone is sitting at a computer for great lengths of time. This is when the head and cervical spine shift forward. It often involves loss of the neck curve. This is the most common postural shift. The good news is that the cervical traction pillow is a great remedy for forward head posture.
Posture Is an Important Window Into your Spine
Its how others see YOU.
If you notice one shoulder is lower than the other, then often times your neck is shifted to that side. This applies the same to the hips. If your pelvis or low back shifts to the left, then the left hip will drop.
If you see that your chin is more to one side or you can see one ear more than the other then your neck may be rotated slightly.
If one ear is lower than the other or you can't imagine a straight line across connecting through both eyes or ears you may have a slight head tilt.
All of these observations make you aware that there are most likely those same shifts inside you of your cervical spine.
Forward neck posture or forward head carriage is when the head juts forward compared to the shoulder. In severe cases you will notice this when looking in the mirror; simply turn a bit to try to see yourself from the side. If you have any of the above postural misalignments especially forward head posture, I would start using a neck pillow at night, and do specific neck exercises to correct your posture.
Misalignments in the Spine Can Be the Cause for Pain
What Type of Pain can result from bad posture? Any misalignments we see means that those shifts may be happening in the spine, and this may mean there is pressure on nerves. This intern can cause pain, neck muscle spasm, or something worse. Also, if the spine is unbalanced, and the nerves aren't functioning at their best it will start to cause wear and tear in the spine; in other words, breakdown or degeneration. Improper posture can lead to all types of pain:
- Shoulder pain
- Neck Pain
- Upper Back Pain
- Stiff Neck
So check your posture, and make sure your neck is in good alignment - just to avoid these pains.
Cervical Support Pillows that Make A Difference
Neck Pillows that Can help you Improve your neck Posture There are many neck pillows available online. Soft ones, hard ones, fluffy ones, foam ones, tempur-pedic ones--even ones filled with beans. Which is the right neck pillow for you? Here is a recommendation of some of the neck pillows we recommend for better posture. Check out frequently asked questions about these neck pillows at the Neck Pain
Cervical Support Pillows that Make A Difference
Neck Pillows that Can help you Improve your neck Posture There are many neck pillows available online. Soft ones, hard ones, fluffy ones, foam ones, tempur-pedic ones--even ones filled with beans. Which is the right neck pillow for you? Here is a recommendation of some of the neck pillows we recommend for better posture. Check out frequently asked questions about these neck pillows at the Neck Pain Relief Shop.
- The Arc4life Cervical Linear Traction Neck Pillow: This neck pillow comes highly recommended by Arc4life. It does traction and gives you support for your neck. If you have degeneration in the neck spine, a bulging or herniated disc, or forward head posture, consider this neck pillow. Dimensions: 24"x17", Color:White, Fill: Polyester Fiber Fill
- Arc4life Cervical Traction Neck Pillow Large - Same Arc4life pillow- but larger. Its smaller than a king size, but smaller pillow than a king: Dimensions: 28"x17", Color:White, Fill: Polyester Fiber Fill
- Arc4life Linear Gravity Support Pillow - Smaller size pillow great for petite individuals, someone with a shorter neck, or even teens. Dimensions: 20"x15", Color:White, Fill: Polyester Fiber Fill.This pillow also comes in a medium size pillow: 24"x17", and large size: 28"x17"
Improve your Lower Back Posture While Sitting
Use a Stress Wedge or Posture Wedge to fix your lower back posture If you sit at a computer for long periods of time, or you have a desk job, changes are your posture is suffering because of poor ergonomics. The Stress Wedge is a positioning wedge that you sit on. The incline on this foam wedge helps to give you proper form in the lumbar spine. It also eases lower back pain while in the seated position. You can also use a lumbar support cushion behind your back to make sure you are sitting up straight. The side support wings of a lumbar support cushion aid in making sure your spine is properly aligned. Finally, if you do a lot of driving make sure you have a supportive drivers seat with adequate lumbar support.