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Posture, Posture, Posture – Why Posture is So Important

Watch your posture. Sit up straight. Don’t slouch. We’ve probably all heard these sayings before. Buy why is posture so important? Because poor posture can damage your spine and cause aches and pains throughout your body.

posture is important

Anatomy and Curves of the Spine

Our spine is made up of many vertebrae. In between each vertebrae is an inter-vertebral disc, a cushiony material that acts as a shock absorber between the bones. In addition, ligaments and muscles are attached to the vertebrae throughout the spinal column.

The spine runs from the base of our skull down to our tailbone and has three distinct curves.  At the top of the spine, in your neck, the spine curves toward the front of your body. Next, if you were to travel down the spine in the middle of your back you’d notice that the spine curves toward the back of your body. As you travel further down the spine, toward your lower back, your spine curves again toward the front of your body.

The curves of the spine help it perform its main functions of supporting the body while protecting the spinal cord. The spinal cord consists of important nerves that run from the brain to the rest of the body.

How Does Your Posture Affect This Anatomy?

All of the bones, discs, muscles, ligaments, and nerves in and around the spine are in a delicate balance. The spine is designed to allow the body to move, bend, and twist in various directions. However, using poor posture for long periods of time put a strain on all the delicate components of the spine and can cause damage and pain.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of how poor posture can have painful consequences.

Pinched Nerve in the Neck

A pinched nerve in the neck can cause pain in your neck, shoulders, arms, and hands. A common cause of this condition is poor posture. More specifically, many of us spend a lot of time with our heads a downward position (ie: as if looking down at a phone or a computer screen).  This position reverses the natural curvature of our spine. Maintaining this position for long periods of time can result in a pinched nerve in your neck. Read more about the condition, called cervical radiculitis, or text neck syndrome.

Posture and Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic headaches may feel similar to migraines but are actually caused by irritation to one of the nerves in the neck (cervical) region of our spine. Read more about cervicogenic headaches.

Slouching and Back Pain

Whether you’re standing or sitting, slouching is bad for your back. Using this poor posture puts stress on the joints of your spine along with the surrounding discs, muscles, and ligaments. When you slouch for prolonged periods of time the stress on these tissues build up and can lead to pain in your back or other areas of your body.

Our bodies are designed to stand tall, shoulders back, head looking straight ahead. However, our activities and habits don’t always coordinate well with good posture. It’s up to us to pay attention to our posture and correct it throughout the day. Pay attention to how you sit, how you stand, how you work. Your body may thank you for it.

*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery