"When we continue to stress muscles, discs and joints by living with poor posture, those tissues undergo abnormal structural changes," said Dr. Lawrence H. Wyatt, professor of clinical sciences at Texas Chiropractic College in Pasadena, Texas, and a member of the American Chiropractic Association.
"These changes can be major contributors to back, neck pain and headaches."
Failing to maintain proper posture can have long-lasting repercussions, as well.
"We suspect that the long-term consequences include weakening of the important core muscles -- muscles in the abdomen, back and legs -- that help us maintain an upright posture, and such positions also make us more prone to injury, as the weakened muscles do not react as well as they should when in 'protection' mode,' " Wyatt
To prevent posture-related back strain, the family physicians' group recommends that people sit in chairs with straight backs or low-back support, keeping their knees a bit higher than their hips.When standing for a long period, rest one foot on a low stool to relieve pressure on the lower back, switching feet every five to 15 minutes.Stand with your ears, shoulders and hips in a straight line, with your head up and your stomach pulled in. Wyatt
, the author of a chiropractic association tip sheet on maintaining good posture, also has advice for proper posture when lying down.For starters, he
suggests finding the right mattress.
...SOURCES: HealthDay News; Lawrence H. Wyatt, D.C., professor of clinical sciences, Texas Chiropractic College, Pasadena, Texas; National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (www.ninds.nih.gov); American Academy of Family Physicians (www.familydoctor.org)