The way a person carries themselves affects far more than simply how they look, walk, and the ease with which they are able to move about. Striving for better posture can be a significant factor in becoming a healthier and happier person. With more and more people spending the lion’s share of their waking hours sitting at their desk at work in a cheap office chair, hunched over a keyboard, it’s no wonder that visits to chiropractors, massage therapists, occupational therapists and other health care professionals are on the rise. When the spine is misaligned for long periods of time (typically the case with improper posture) a host of medical problems can occur. These include back, neck, and joint pain, migraine headaches, symptoms of vertigo or dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue, and many more. Women are typically more strongly affected by the adverse effects of poor posture than men, but symptoms can strike any person at any age. Fortunately, there are many non-medical, non-surgical solutions that can help the average person improve their posture, avoid these health problems and look and feel their best.
What Can Cause Bad Posture?
While some people are born with scoliosis, have one leg that is slightly longer than the other or have a physical issue that affects posture and/or gait, the majority of people’s posture problems occur as the result of poor exercise or eating habits or using improper technique/posture during everyday activities including sitting, exercising, or even sleeping.
Obesity and lack of proper exercise is a huge contributor to poor posture. It is an issue that concerns a steadily growing number of Americans. So many people lead largely sedentary lifestyles, sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day and rarely getting the recommended amount of daily physical activity. The average person doesn’t even need to be clinically obese to begin suffering from the symptoms of poor posture. Being slightly overweight can be enough to change the way a person walks and put too much pressure on the spinal column near the shoulders, mid-back, and hips. No brace, mechanism or medical device can magically heal all the pain and soreness caused by poor posture brought about by overweight. The solution to this? You’ve heard it time and time again, but it’s the honest truth: eat right and exercise.
Patients who already have orthopedic issues (typically the result of an injury or old age) will often experience the effects of poor posture as well. A person who has experienced an injury to a hip, knee, or ankle is likely to favor that side of the body over the other. Over time, this can easily pull the spinal column out of alignment, causing additional health concerns discussed above.
In addition to this, people who already have bad posture can fall into a vicious cycle. Over time, as poor posture such as slouching and slumping pulls the vertebrae out of alignment, it starts to feel normal. The bad habit causes muscle tension that can lead to further slouching and misalignment. The effects are hard to reverse because the muscle memory stores the information for the poor posture as “normal” which takes a lot of time and effort to re-train.
No matter what is responsible for posture-related difficulties, corrective action should be taken before permanent problems develop, and a weak spinal column becomes a lifelong struggle. Individuals who have occupations such as truck drivers, movers, construction workers and office workers are at a higher risk of neck and back pain problems due to poor posture or technique and should take maintaining good posture seriously. These individuals should consider investing in ergonomic chairs, keyboards, seats and equipment to prevent bad posture and the health problems associated with it. Many will see an improvement in not only physical pain and discomfort, but experience a stronger and more positive emotional state as a result of this total body approach to wellness.
What is a Posture Brace and How Does it Work?
A posture brace is a simple garment that provides support, stability and serves as a guide for proper alignment for an area of muscles such as the upper or lower back, shoulders and neck. It pulls your shoulders back and forces your back to stay straight. It helps people of all ages overcome issues relating to poor posture or improper alignment. Typically sold over-the-counter, these braces are available for men, women, and children, and offer different levels of support and support for different muscle groups. Some are ideal for those who notice a weakening of the muscles surrounding the spinal column due to sitting in at a desk all day, while others are made for individuals who do heavy lifting or spend hours walking around carrying objects.
If you’ve decided that a brace is for you, you should buy a posture brace.
Posture braces come in a variety of styles, price points, and are designed to tackle different issues. It’s a good idea to do some research by reading online reviews and asking your doctor for a recommendation before investing in a particular brace. Braces work by artificially strengthening the core of the body, keeping the spine properly aligned and relieving some of the pressure placed on the neck, shoulders, back, and abdominal muscles. As a result, pain and discomfort lessened in the area targeted and the burden of extra weight is removed from the lower back, hips, knees, and ankles. This greatly reduces the chances of injury.
Posture braces should be used occasionally, when symptoms act up, daily activities become uncomfortable, or as treatment for a chronic condition. They can even be used as a preventative measure to avoid injury or as a tool to help break a bad habit involving posture. However, they are not a substitute for other treatment such as physical therapy, rehabilitation of injury, chiropractic care, weight loss, healthy eating or exercise. In fact, if a patient has an injury that goes untreated, the brace may alleviate the pain associated with the symptoms, but endanger health in the long run. A brace should not be worn for long periods of time or too often as they can cause muscles to weaken due to lack of use. This can worsen both posture problems and symptoms. It is important to make sure that any medical issue is promptly diagnosed and treated by the proper professional.
Benefits And When To Use It
The greatest benefit of the posture brace can be found by those who have posture issues and are suffering physical ailments or muscle pain as the result of sitting, walking, or sleeping in a way that leads to misalignment of the spine. Braces offer a number of benefits including: improving appearance, encouraging good posture, relieving pain and retraining muscles. These benefits can be realized by wearing the brace during activities that would become too uncomfortable without it or as a measure to prevent injury or making already bad posture even worse.
Studies show that it takes approximately six weeks to learn a new habit, so those who have been suffering from pain due to bad posture such as slouching in a chair and want to form better habits and improve their posture should use the brace (in conjunction with regular exercise) for at least six weeks to re-train themselves.
It is also beneficial to use a brace if you have a job that involves heavy lifting or puts you at risk of injury, especially to the back or shoulders. It will help you maintain proper posture and reduce the risk of injury in a physically challenging environment.
Other Ways To Correct Bad Posture
Unfortunately, wearing a posture brace alone will not correct bad posture, nor will it cure all the symptoms that can often accompany it. The most effective method is to supplement the use of the brace during working hours or times of discomfort with exercises designed to strengthen core muscles (abs, obliques, upper and lower back, pectorals, etc.) and maintaining a healthy diet. Exercising regularly by strengthening the muscles in the shoulder area, spine, and abdomen will not only improve your posture and flexibility, it will provide the added benefits of helping you develop muscle tone, lose weight, improve your metabolism and sleep better. When these things are used simultaneously, you’ll see a difference in not only your orthopedic health, but the amount of energy you have on a daily basis.
If you are looking to buy a posture support (and have done your research), you can buy one from Amazon (there are others, but Amazon is the most trusted and secure). We have reviews of the top supports available if you’re interested.