Chiropractor Explains Why Good Posture Hurts
As a new year resolution, many people say they’re going to improve their posture. However, after a day or so, some people can experience pain in their neck, shoulders, back, or even waist. But why does following good posture hurt?
Good posture can become painful because your ligaments, muscles, and bone structure are used to bad posture. Therefore, recorrecting it causing them to strain, meaning your muscles have to work overtime to ensure you’re maintaining a good posture without relaxing back into your poor posture state.
As you can see, good posture can be painful for those who have undergone poor posture for a long time. Imagine a ball that’s been stood on for years, and you’re trying to make it round again. That’s practically your body, and over time it will become less problematic.
If you want to know more about this and various other queries based on the topic based on my 30 years of experience advising, treating, and designing simple solutions (even a successful Kickstarter!) to correct your posture, read the below:
Why Does Good Posture Hurt?
Good posture can hurt, though, really it shouldn’t. We can certainly experience a great deal of strain and discomfort trying to correct years of poor posture. One of the most common approaches to correcting posture is stretching tight muscles and strengthening weak ones.
The fact is that the best approach is a holistic one; you need to take the whole body into account. If you focus too much on one muscle or joint group, you’re going to notice pain and discomfort as those groups are being overworked. It’s much better to try and find a total-body approach that takes everything into account.
One prevalent method is yoga, or even simply habitually stretching throughout the day. Yoga focuses on strength, posture, and alignment and teaches you to focus on your core and keep your entire body engaged. This is an essential first step. Whatever you want to do, the point is, it’s likely going to have to be a workout. If you haven’t been fitness-oriented in your life, workouts can cause pain.
When we exercise our muscles, the fibres in those muscles stretch. They then begin returning to their usual state, and over time this stretching builds the muscle’s strength. This is the most straightforward answer to why good posture can hurt; you are engaging muscles that you had previously let relax too much.
So, with all that in mind, you’re probably wondering how long it takes to improve posture.
How Long Does It Take To Correct Posture?
It’s the kind of question chiropractors and personal trainers hear a lot, and the first thing I always do is encourage patience. If you keep to a good routine, you’ll be amazed how quickly you can build strength, but significantly correcting your posture and strengthening those muscles is going to take time.
It’s dependent on a lot of factors about you, as well. If you’ve only stopped workout for a few months, you’ll be able to build that posture back up much more quickly than if you’ve never in your life worked out. But not to worry, like I said: have patience.
Following daily workouts and working directly with your bones and joints, on average, you will start to see significant results within around ten weeks. You can do many workouts daily to improve posture, and they work best going hand in hand with other workouts.
Strengthening the whole body is essential to good posture; we like to think of posture as being just our back, but posture is about the entire body. If you’ve been having posture-related trouble with a particular area like your neck or shoulders, this will still relate to the whole body. Tightness in any of these muscles is a symptom of a deeper problem, so tinkering around with things like massages may address the situation in the short term and have benefits. But for any long-term solution, you need to strengthen your whole body.
How Can I Improve My Posture Without Pain?
Intensive workouts aren’t accessible to everyone, and there are certainly many ways to improve your posture without causing as much pain from the workout. Again, yoga is a multi-faceted practice that provides both total body workout routines and individual poses that are immensely helpful to posture. If you sit at a desk, doing any of the following yoga-related workouts below periodically during the day can help posture enormously:
Starting on your hands and knees, rest your whole upper body on the tops of your legs, with your feet pointing behind you. Crawl your hands forward and extend them out in front of you, or drape them alongside you on the floor. Drop your hips back to rest on your heels, and let your forehead touch the floor. Take ten slow, deep breaths here.
Standing Forward Fold
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend your knees generously, as much as you need. Don’t worry about keeping your legs straight. Exhale as your bend forward. Clasp each elbow with the opposite hand, pressing into all four corners of the feet. Draw your shoulders away from your ears and allow your head to drop as far as it will. With each breath out, go deeper into the pose.
This is probably my favorite yoga pose for spinal alignment. Starting on all fours, stack your wrists under the elbows and your knees underneath the hip points. Spread your fingers and engage all corners of your foundation. Now, begin to tuck your tailbone under your abdominal wall and push your spine towards the ceiling. Lengthen your neck and reach your head towards the chest. On the breath out, scoop the pelvis into the ‘cow’ position, dropping your belly to the floor and lifting your chin to the ceiling.
Yoga is a treasure trove of helpful poses, and it can provide a fantastic workout at the same time. It’s probably the number one thing I tell all my patients: the best thing you can do to improve and maintain your posture (even without causing pain) is to practice regular yoga, or at least to keep a few poses in mind and do them regularly.
Try a Seat Wedge
By pushing the pelvis forward, seat wedges actively promote a better posture by encouraging the back into a more upright position. Furthermore, a seat wedge actively engages your core, providing you with a much more comfortable working position, and it actively engages your stability. If you spend many hours sitting, seat wedges are great for you.
Make sure that your seat wedge has these features:
- Only use natural latex. Natural latex is springy, comfortable and non-toxic. You should avoid memory foam because they don’t breathe, lack resiliency, and are usually made from toxic chemicals.
- Ensure that your seat wedge has a top soft layer and a high-density support layer for all-day comfort.
In order to maintain good posture, you need to use your muscles in a way that is different from what they are used to. If left unchecked, this can lead to muscle strain and fatigue. This means your body will work harder than it needs to just so that you don’t return back into bad posture habits. We’re here with tips on how best to recorrect your poor postural habits at home or at the office!