Poor posture goes beyond back pain: how sitting straight can improve your health

If you woke up one day with back pain, you’d assume something was wrong with your spine or its surrounding muscles. However, if you randomly develop a health problem like indigestion, one of the last places you’d look for an answer is your spine. After all, what could your spine have to do with ailments in other parts of the body? As it turns out, the health of your spine and the way you hold it can have widespread impacts.

Posture plays a major role in overall wellness. By interrupting the connections between the brain and body and putting pressure on other body parts, poor posture is believed to cause a wide range of ailments. If you’ve spent too long in a bad posture, it’s time to make some changes – or else your health could suffer!

Back and neck pain are only two of the potential problems caused by poor posture, however. You can actually endure a range of health problems when you sit for a long time improperly.

Here are a few of the surprising health effects of poor posture:

Indigestion: When you slump over, you compress the space in your abdomen. This could cause stomach acid to enter the esophagus and trigger heartburn. Experts also believe that slouching forward puts pressure on the intestines, potentially slowing digestion and even leading to constipation by preventing feces from moving as it should.

Impaired breathing: Slouching forward compresses your diaphragm and makes it more difficult for you to breathe properly. When you sit up tall, you open up the space in your thoracic cavity and allow the diaphragm to expand, so you can get a deep breath.

Poor circulation: Poor posture – particularly when sitting in a chair with your shoulders rounded forward and your legs crossed – can hamper good circulation. Compression of the heart and blood vessels makes it harder for the heart to pump blood throughout your body. Not only that, but poor circulation might lead to painful varicose veins.

Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ): Forward head posture paired with abnormal spinal curves or alignment caused by poor posture can begin to affect the muscles and joints in your jaw. When stressed, your mandibular joint may become painful and experience problems like an improper bite pattern, popping and locking of the jaw, and jaw cramps.

Frequent headaches: Persistent forward head posture places excessive stress on the muscles in the neck and shoulders. When these muscles build up tension and become fatigued, you may experience frequent tension headaches.

These injuries would make everyday life a whole lot harder but by sitting in a good posture and watching it, you could potentially prevent these health problems from occurring, allowing you to lead a healthier and more comfortable life.

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