World Spine Day is observed on Oct.16 every year to raise awareness about your spinal health.
Spinal pain is one of the leading causes of disability in the world. Around one billion people worldwide suffer some form of spinal pain and 75-85% of adults in the U.S. experience it at some time during their life.
This year’s theme, “Move Your Spine,” aims to encourage people to stay active for better spine health.
What is posture?
Posture is the way a person’s spine curves and holds up the body. Inactive posture refers to the way the body holds up while resting or sleeping, while active posture can be either static (standing, sitting, lying and kneeling) or dynamic (walking, running).
A person with poor posture may show signs such as rounded shoulders, body aches, slouching, bent knees, fatigue, forward head posture and back pain.
Here’s how bad postures affect your health:
1. Pains and aches – Poor posture can cause headaches, neck pain and lower and upper back pain. It also affects a person’s flexibility and increases the risk of falls.
2. Poor sleep – When the posture is not right, a person may not get a comfortable sleep as the muscles will not relax completely.
3. Poor digestion – Having a slouched posture can put pressure on the abdomen and can lead to slowed digestion, acid reflux, constipation and urinary incontinence.
4. Spine curvature – Right posture helps to maintain the natural S shape of the spine made of three curves. However, with poor posture, excessive pressure in the wrong position affects these natural curves and they change shape, increasing the risk of serious injury.
Tips to improve posture
1. Watch your posture: Be mindful of your posture when you sit, walk and sleep. Switching sitting positions, taking brief walks and using proper back support can help improve your sitting posture. While standing, ensure you stand up straight and tall with your shoulders back. Sleeping on the side supported with pillows can help reduce back pain, snoring and acid reflux.
2. Use comfortable footwear: Choosing comfortable footwear can help take off the stress on the muscles and can improve posture while standing and walking.
3. Keep moving: Reducing the sitting time and taking some form of exercise may help improve posture. Workouts like yoga or tai chi that focus on body awareness can help.
4. Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight can put undue pressure on abdominal muscles, pelvis and spine. Shedding extra weight can help to improve posture.