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If you have poor posture you may begin to experience pain that can be directly linked to the posture issues. As the issue develops, you may experience pain in your neck, headaches may become more frequent, you may have tightness into the upper back and shoulders, or in severe cases begin to see symptoms spreading through the body into weakness, numbness or pain in the extremity regions. The type of posture you have can be completely individual to you, but there is an ideal alignment that our spines should be positioned in to avoid any issues in the future. The good news is that usually there are exercises for neck pain that can be done to improve your posture and relieve the pain. 

The first, and potentially the most common, form of misalignment is often an over-kyphotic posture, where the upper back is rounded excessively with the head coming forward. This type of posture may still have retained smooth curvature but can often be more accentuated. It’s also becoming an increasingly more common posture amongst younger people as they spend a tremendous amount of time using mobile or tablet devices and laptops.

Causes of Poor Posture

Constantly leaning your head down in order to look at a phone or tablet puts a huge amount of strain on the neck due to the weight of the head. Spending more time in that position can gradually pull the head into carrying itself more forward. This can also cause you to round your shoulders more excessively, which can cause rounding in the upper back translating into the spinal alignment. If you have a desk job, you may be more prone to adopting this kind of posture if you happen to slouch at your desk. Leaning forward onto your desk can cause the same effect as your spine is adapting to the posture you repeatedly subject it to.

To correct this type of problem, you’ll need to focus on taking notice of your posture more frequently. Checking back in with yourself every couple of hours can be the best way to keep an eye that you’re maintaining your posture. You may find this more difficult at first, especially as the muscles that you use to keep you upright and in good posture are being worked much harder than they were before. It will take some time to regain this strength, but you’ll need to be persistent in making sure you’re maintaining the posture. The best kind of exercise you can do to help this kind of posture is chin tucks.

How You Can Correct Poor Posture

If you are in a desk job, you will need to make sure your desk is set up in a way that allows you to maintain good posture. This means you will need to make sure your back is straight with your chest open, your head is in a neutral position (not looking up or down at the computer screen), and your feet need to both be planted on the floor.  There are also exercises you can do to help encourage your spine back into its normal alignment. For this kind of posture, if you wish to take up some exercises, we would recommend chin tucks. Drawing the head back will help to strengthen your muscles and bring the spine back into a neutral position, this can help in multiple ways to correct the alignment in your neck and reduce the rounded posture. In addition to this, you may find stretching out the chest muscles to be beneficial, as they can become tight very easily when someone has a rounded posture.

If your spine is fundamentally straight, you won’t find any of the previous advice helpful to you as it will need a bit more of a specific approach. Even If the neck curves forward at the top, chin tucks will not do anything to draw the head back as they will just make the spine even more flatter, to the point where there would be no shock absorption. If you have a completely flat spine, or just the head curves forward, you’d be much better off consulting with a professional to get these issues correctly addressed. In a spine where there are poorly defined curves, or no curves at all, there is a much higher increase of injury due to there being no ability for the spine to absorb any shock from everyday activities. Everything we do during the day can impact the spine in some degree, whether that’s walking, running, sport, lifting anything or even climbing stairs, without shock absorbency in your spine you will find that you will be more prone to injury. The natural curves in the spine create an ideal way for the spine to absorb any impact and distribute forces of gravity through the spine without injury – so without these you can pose a real risk to your spinal health.

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Importance of X-ray Imaging to Examine Alignment

Without proper X-ray imaging, it’s not really possible to say with any degree of certainty what kind of alignment your spine is in. Although you can tell from asking someone to stand side-on, whether they generally have good posture, the true alignment and angles of the spine will need X-ray imaging to identify. The cervical spine does run quite deep into the neck so for that reason you may be able to guess how your spine is positioned, but the muscles around the neck shoulders can distort the way it presents, so it’s really not an accurate enough way to effectively examine your spine.

Visiting a local osteopath or chiropractor who understands the importance of having X-rays if you need them is important, as there are many who simply don’t have access to X-ray machines who may assume a problem is present but doesn’t conduct an X-ray to check. There are usually certain criteria in place to make sure no-one undergoes an X-ray needlessly, but if you have had an accident at any point in your life or you’ve developed a fresh injury, it may be important that you have one in order to avoid doing any further damage to the spine. If you are referred for an X-ray, enquire as to whether it will be done standing, as the natural neck positioning will not show if it’s done lying down. A standing X-ray will give you a clear idea as to what your natural posture is.

If you notice you have poor posture during the day, or you’ve been told you may need to pay more attention to your posture, it’s important to take heed and make an effort to do so. Without proper posture or if you have a loss of alignment, you’re far more likely to develop an injury in your spine that may be much more difficult to correct. Taking care of your posture early on can help as much as possible to prevent early degeneration and injuries from occurring.