Good posture is your body’s ability to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement or weight-bearing activities. Maintaining a good posture keeps the bones and joints in the correct alignment and also prevents strain on the back and other posture-related problems. Good posture is seen when the head and shoulder are balanced over the pelvis, hips, and ankles, with the head straight and the chin held in. While a bad posture occurs when the head is held forward to a marked degree, the chest is depressed, the abdomen is completely relaxed and protuberant, and the shoulders are held behind. Bad posture may sometimes lead to common postural defects. Here are 3 types of postural defects;
- Kyphosis: This is also known as hunchback. It is the forward rounding or exaggerated curvature of the spine than normal. Kyphosis can occur at any age but it is more common in older women. A normal thoracic spine extends from the 1st to the 12th vertebra and should have a slight kyphotic angle, ranging from 20° to 45°. When the “roundness” of the upper spine increases past 45°, it is called kyphosis. It may lead to severe back pain and stiffness.
- Lordosis: This is the inward curvature of the lumbar and cervical part of the vertebral column. It can be called swayback or saddle back. If lordotic curving is much it can cause the buttocks to be prominent. People with lordosis usually have a small space beneath their lower part when lying on a hard surface.
- Scoliosis: Scoliosis is a condition that causes the spine to curve to the side. It can affect any part of the spine, but the most common regions are the chest area (thoracic scoliosis) and the lower section of the back (lumbar scoliosis).
Causes of Common Postural Defects
- Accident /trauma
- Low esteem
- Foot problems
- Weak muscles
- Unsupportive shoes
Corrective Measures for Common Postural Defects
To correct bad posture, efforts have to be made to correct sitting, standing, sleeping and driving postures because they work and in hand to attaining a good body posture.
- If you work in front of a computer all day, it is important to sit right to maintain good posture. You can ensure your head and body are in proper alignment by ensuring the following:
- Get a good and comfortable chair and desk while working in your office with a computer to avoid neck strain or muscle tension
- If you work on computers at an office, position the monitor at an angle a bit more upwards to see the screen better
- Ensure while sitting to keep your feet flat on the ground or on a footrest if you have one.
- Align your back with the office chair this will prevent you from slouching or leaning forward
- For proper alignment of your head and neck ensure you keep your shoulders straight and squared, your head is upright, and your neck, back, and heels aligned.
- If using an adjustable chair, adjust the chair to your comfort while you ensure your arm is not flexed but stretched out.
- Aim for roughly a 75- to a 90-degree angle at the elbows. If more than 90 degrees you are sitting too close
- While sitting at work it is advisable to stand up, walk around, stretch and do little exercises for few minutes
Also Read: Anti-Ageing: Tips on How to Stay Younger
- If you walk with a good posture it shows you have a good standing posture.
- Walk with your head, neck and shoulder straight
- It is important to walk with your chest out and eyes straight.
- Walk like you have a book balancing on your head
- While you walk, ensure you focus your balance on your calves
- Avoid pushing your head forward.
Your sleep posture has an added effect on your body posture. Bad posture has got a close link to poor sleeping postures.
- Ensure you sleep on a firm mattress to give proper back support.
- Try to adopt sleeping on your back as it helps to keep your back straight.
- Ensure you place a pillow just below your head and neck to keep your neck well aligned
- A soft and low pillow will do the job right
- If you prefer to lie on the side, ensure you put a small pillow between knees to keep them aligned.
The posture you maintain when you drive contributes to a good posture and safety precaution measures.
- Just like the sitting postures, when you drive, ensure you adjust the car seat to your convenience.
- Keep your head on the headrest; adjust headrest so that your head can rest on it.
- Tilt the headrest as needed, to maintain a distance of no more than four inches (10cm) between the back of your head and the headrest.
Obesity and excess visceral fats have been linked to postural defects. To correct this, it is important to train your musculoskeletal system to keep up with your body posture. Get involved in push-up and sit up exercises to train the abdominal muscles and keep bones aligned.
To avoid poor posture and pain in the back, ensure that the weight of the load you are lifting is evenly distributed to the feet. Bend your knees not your weight as you lift anything. When you have lifted the load, ensure you keep the load closer to your chest so that the work is done with your arms, chest, and upper back
Keeping a good posture is important to staying healthy.