The Biggest Key to Improve Posture & Take Unnecessary Stress off Your Neck and Back
One of the biggest questions I get from patients with neck and back pain is how to improve posture. This is a great question and an area that has to be addressed if you want to eliminate the unnecessary stresses bad posture puts on your neck, back, and shoulders.
With the advancement of technology over the last decade, so many people spend a significant amount of their time each day on a computer, laptop, or a tablet computer such as an iPad.
Don’t get me wrong, technology is a great thing, and I love my iPad. But, unless you’re consciously aware of how to maintain a good posture while using these devices, chances are you’ll soon catch yourself in a slumped position with your head forward, your shoulders rounded, and your lower back slumped forward. And with that, chances are also likely you’ll be feeling the affects of bad posture soon!
What is Good Posture?
Before we talk about the biggest key to improve posture, I want to make sure you know what correct sitting posture is. To assist you in this, I’ve put together a brief instructional posture video at the link below. Once you understand what good posture is, come back and learn about the most important key to improve posture in your neck and back.
The Biggest Key to Improve Posture
Welcome back! Now that you have a good idea of what correct sitting posture is, let’s discuss what I consider to be one of the most important—and least taught—keys to improve posture. And that is, you have to learn to function in your neutral spine!
Most people think of good posture as sitting or standing up straight. The fact is, it’s important to have good posture in all your daily activities…not just while you’re sitting or standing. Working to improve posture in static activities (like sitting/standing), but it is also vital that you work on having good posture in dynamic activities (like bending and lifting, getting up/down from a chair, or in and out of a car).
Most people can imagine the benefits of learning to perform all their daily activities in a good posture, but they have no idea how to achieve this—which leads us to my next point. The key to improve your posture in all your daily activities (whether static or dynamic) is learning to move in your neutral spine. For those of you not familiar with this concept, the neutral spine is basically the position that the spine functions best in. Your neutral spine is an optimal position for your back. In your neutral spine, there is not any extra pressure on the discs and ligaments of the spine. Commonly, it is also a position of relief for those already suffering from back pain, because of the fact that it does take excess pressure off the discs, ligaments, and joints of the spine.
For this reason, it is vital you master the concept of neutral spine to help improve posture and decrease neck and back pain. To help you in this endeavor, I want you to watch the instructional videos at the links below. There are a couple of ways to learn to find your neutral spine, but I think the easiest way to start is lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. The first link will cover how to find your neutral spine lying on your back.
Another way to find your neutral spine is in the standing position. Though finding your neutral spine while lying on your back is usually where we start in physical therapy, the standing position is really more functional. This means it is actually more useful to you because most of the activities we do during the day are in an upright position. Now, let’s discover how you can find your neutral spine in standing.
No matter which way you find your neutral spine, remember the following key points to maintaining your neutral spine:
- Contract the muscles that will hold this position by pulling the “belly button” in toward your spine and up toward your throat.
- Don’t hold your breath.
- Practice continuously throughout the day!
The biggest Key To Improve Posture
Remember, the biggest key to improve your posture is learning to find, hold, and move in your neutral spine throughout all your daily activities. Make a commitment today to start working on the critical skill of neutral spine—it will not only help you improve posture, but it will also help take a lot of unnecessary stress off your neck and back!