People who have bad posture usually end up with neck pain or headaches and people with neck pain often have breathing problems. This can all impact your daily life and functional ability. The problem does not just end there because the way you breathe also has a very important influence on posture and spinal stabilization.
Posture is a forgotten aspect of our health – correct posture is so important
Bad Posture Affects Your Health
A study conducted in New Zealand showed that using upright ‘good’ posture you can cope with stressful tasks much better than if you are in a slouching position during the same task.
Studies are showing that developing neck pain is not something that should be considered ‘growing pains’. It is not likely to go away by itself. We know that kids who develop spinal dysfunction to the point of them having spinal pain in their teenage years go on to become adults with spinal pain problems.
Posture is often a forgotten aspect of our health. But it’s actually really important.
People who have bad posture usually end up with neck pain or headaches and people with neck pain often have breathing problems.1 This can all impact your daily life and functional ability. And the problem does not end here because the way you breathe also has a very important influence on posture and spinal stabilization.2
But bad posture also affects other health aspects. For example, a study conducted at the psychology department at the University of Auckland in New Zealand looked at the effects of upright posture, compared to slouched posture on young healthy people’s resilience to cope with a stressful reading task.3 The study results clearly showed that when these people were held in an upright ‘good’ posture they could cope with the stressful task much better than if they were held in a slouch position during the same task. In addition to this, the scientists found that good, upright posture also resulted in the participants displaying and feeling higher self-esteem, better mood and lower fear, compared to the slumped posture situation.
Yes, you heard that correctly. Good, upright posture is not only good for healthy breathing but it can also make you more self-confident, feel better mood-wise and reduce your feeling fear and helps you be more resilient when dealing with a stressful situation!
Forward head posture is particularly bad. You want your head resting nicely and directly on top of your spine. You don’t want your head out in front of your spine. A normal-sized head weighs about 3 kilos or 6 1/2 pounds. This is about as heavy as a bowling ball. Your spine is designed to hold that up without any problems at all but if it’s hanging forward then there is a 3kg weight hanging off your muscles, ligaments and connective tissues at the back of your neck. This is not a good thing for your spine and increases the burden, strain and stress that your spine has to cope with.
What is quite concerning is that the number of people who are showing up with forward head posture is increasing dramatically! It is becoming so common that it’s been given a name – ‘text neck’ – because many people believe we are seeing so many more young people developing neck pain due to the increased use of smart devices, such as smartphones or tablets.
Studies are showing that developing neck pain is not something that should be considered ‘growing pains’. It is not likely to go away by itself.4 We know that kids who develop spinal dysfunction to the point of them having spinal pain in their teenage years go on to become adults with spinal pain problems.5 Teenagers with spinal dysfunction to the degree of having pain in multiple regions become adults with spinal pain problems in multiple regions, and so on.5 So the best thing for your children’s sake is to nip it in the bud and fix the problem early so that it does not go on to become a lifelong problem for them. The health and function of your child’s spine can significantly impact their future quality of life!
A simple solution for little kids with smart devices is to make sure they lie on their stomachs when they are using them. This makes it impossible for them to hang their heads forward. So keep a close eye on your children and teenager’s habits. Talk to them about the importance of good posture and a properly functioning spine for their health and if you have any concerns go and see your local family chiropractor.
- Fernández-de-Las-Peñas, C., Cuadrado, M. L., & Pareja, J. A. (2006). Myofascial trigger points, neck mobility and forward head posture in unilateral migraine. Cephalalgia, 26(9), 1061-1070.
- Wirth B, Amstalden M, Perk M, Boutellier U, Humphreys BK. Respiratory dysfunction in patients with chronic neck pain – influence of thoracic spine and chest mobility. Man Ther. Oct 2014;19(5):440-444.
- Bradley H, Esformes J. Breathing pattern disorders and functional movement. Int J Sports Phys Ther. Feb 2014;9(1):28-39.
- Nair S, Sagar M, Sollers J, 3rd, Consedine N, Broadbent E. Do slumped and upright postures affect stress responses? A randomized trial. Health Psychol. Jun 2015;34(6):632-641.
- Aartun E, Hartvigsen J, Wedderkopp N, Hestbaek L. Spinal pain in adolescents: prevalence, incidence, and course: a school-based two-year prospective cohort study in 1,300 Danes aged 11-13. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2014;15:187.
- 5Hestbaek L, Leboeuf-Yde C, Kyvik KO, Manniche C. The course of low back pain from adolescence to adulthood: eight-year follow-up of 9600 twins. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). Feb 15 2006;31(4):468-472.