It’s the ultimate first-world problem: whether you’re fruitlessly cracking your back after an all-nighter, or wondering precisely when your caffeine-fueled productivity session devolved into a vortex of back pain and regret, bad posture can bite us in the back at the most inopportune times.
From depression to digestive issues, the way we sit can have far-reaching effects on our physical health and mental well-being.
Bad Posture Worsens Depression and Stress
A study by San Francisco State University found that posture had a profound effect on an individual’s mental state. Participants who stayed in a consistent slouched and constricted position reported an increased feeling of depression and a decreased level of energy.
An individual’s metabolism slows when in a seated position for extended periods of time. Bad posture can compress the spine and stress the surrounding muscles, compounding this effect and causing feelings of fatigue, irritation, and aggravation. Sitting in a relaxed position with shoulders back and broad can help alleviate some of these symptoms.
Back, Shoulder and Neck Pain
Extended periods of poor posture puts an undue amount of stress on your upper body, contributing to back, shoulder and neck pain. Because of the uneven distribution of body weight, the spine is often forced to bear heavy loads, leading to the misalignment of the vertebrae and compression of the connective tissues in between.
In the long-term, poor posture can cause general misalignment in the spine and lead chronic back pain and joint damage. Too much load over a long period of time can cause arthritic degradation of the tissues surrounding your joints, causing numbness or pain in your arms, back or legs.
Sitting with sufficient lumbar support, in combination with regular back-stretching exercises (such as upper back foam rolling) can help alleviate some of the symptoms.
Breathing and Circulation Issues
Poor posture can compress the chest cavity, putting undue pressure on the lungs and heart and forcing them to work harder to pump blood and circulate. Prolonged sitting can also cut off circulation to the lower body, especially in conjunction with a cross-legged position and poor posture.
Sitting upright with your shoulders and chest straight and relaxed makes it easier to breathe. Occasionally changing your work habit to accommodate a standing position, or consistently taking time to stretch your legs can help get the breath back in your lungs and your blood flowing again.
Sitting improperly can also constrict your intestines. This can cause digestive distress, folding up your viscera and causing bloating, and an uncomfortable, “backed-up” feeling. Studies have attributed slouching to various digestive issues, such as acid reflux and hernias. In event of digestive distress, be sure to take time out of your workflow to adjust to a more upright posture and stretch your feet.
Looking to Alleviate Posture-Related Back Pain?
An experienced healthcare provider can help you restore balance in your work and computer posture. Our chiropractor, Dr. Alec Khlebopros, practices a wealth of services, treatment options, and procedures that help to restore patients to their healthy selves.
Click here to contact Proactive Chiropractic for a consultation today, or fill in the form on our contact page and a member of our staff will be in touch soon.