According to The American Posture Institute, naturally aligned human beings have become the minority in our population, a true rarity. In today’s convenient and technologically developed world we seem to be missing the precious link with our own bodies and therefore getting sicker. We are losing the capability of recognizing our wrong postures because they’ve become the new “right”.
Most of us – technologically advanced human beings - are coping with some kind of postural stress. The most common symptom manifests as pain in the upper back, shoulders and neck region. Evolution hasn't prepared our bodies to the bio-mechanical stress of rounding our shoulders and leaning our heads forward while typing and texting for hours. The effects of poor posture are not just affecting adults later in life, rather they are affecting children of young ages as well.
Considering that human head weighs, on average, 12 lbs., any slight angle forward puts a strain on the muscles of your neck and upper back. The further you lean your head forward, and how long you keep that straining posture, determines how much extra work your neck and upper-back need to do. That will result in result in craniofascial pain, headaches, neck aches and shoulder pain, muscle stiffness, and decreased range of motion at the cervical area.
Another common postural stress effect of modern life will show up as pain and discomfort in the low back and it’s the result of prolonged periods of sitting. According to Cornell University Department of Ergonomics, up to 90% more pressure is put on your back when you sit versus. when you stand and, to make things worse, we habitually sit in ways that cause tension and imbalance. Again, the human body was designed to be kept in perpetual motion and not to be locked in a sitting position for long periods of time.
So, what can we do?
Some good advice just to get started:
Regular Massage Therapy – preventing or treating stress postural pain through massage is a great way to be proactive by taking responsibility for your well-being. The idea that it’s a luxury approach has already been refuted, a monthly massage not only can be affordable but also, according to a myriad of studies, highly effective not only in treating muscle pain and spasm, but also preventing complications caused by muscle overuse, muscle weakness and muscle tightness.
Physical Activity - keep your body moving as it was designed for, try a new activity, yoga for example can be a very effective way of preventing and treating postural stress pain and it is a very low-risk activity. There's no excuse for not giving yoga a try.
Invest on a standing desk - standing, even for short periods throughout the working day, has been proven to help alleviate or prevent sitting-caused back pain.
Develop posture awareness - over our lifetime, unconscious habits form making it easy for us to miss when we're putting additional stresses on our bodies. Developing awareness of our own posture will help in regaining the natural ability of correctly positioning our bodies while standing, sitting, sleeping, working, driving, gradually replacing the old bad posture.