Improve Your Posture for Less Back Pain
Massage Can Not Only Ease Pain but Also Poor Posture as a Result
Correct posture is a simple but crucial way to sustain the health of the many intricate structures in your back and spine. And poor posture isn’t a purely aesthetic issue either. Poor posture can lead to a great deal of back and neck pain. Back support is especially important for anyone, like myself, who spends several hours sitting at a desk or standing on their feet all day.
Problems Caused by Poor Back Support and Posture
Allowing good posture to fall by the wayside and forgoing adequate back support can cause additional strain to build up on the muscles, stressing your spine. As this continues, the stress poor posture creates can change the anatomical characteristics of your spine, which can increase the likelihood of constricted blood vessels and nerves. It can also cause problems with your muscles, discs, and joints. This can all cause intense back and neck pain, in addition to headaches, fatigue, and even concerns with your major organs and breathing.
Identifying Good Posture
Overall, having correct posture can help to keep each part of your body in alignment with the surrounding parts. Proper posture helps maintain your internal systems and keeps them balanced and supported. With appropriate standing posture, you should be able to draw a straight line from your ear, down through your shoulder, to the hip, knee, and into the middle of your ankle.
However, we don’t just stand. People are often going through several positions between sitting, standing, bending, stooping, and lying down. With that in mind, it's important to learn how to achieve and maintain proper posture in each of these positions for good back support, which can relieve some back pain. When moving from one position to another, it’s best if your posture is adjusted smoothly and fluidly throughout your movement.
At first, it can be difficult to do those things automatically, but as you continue to work on your posture it’ll become easier and easier. Plus, you’ll be able to do it much quicker when you implement massage.
What is Poor Posture?
Poor posture is when our spine is positioned in unnatural positions in which the spinal curves are emphasized resulting in increased stress on the joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. This prolonged poor positioning results in a buildup of pressure in the surrounding soft tissue.
When it comes down to it, we spend years sitting and slouching forward. Whether we’re studying, working, driving, sitting to eat, it’s a huge part of our lives. This fact has a huge impact on our bodies and can cause numerous muscle imbalances.
When you hunch forward at a desk, the improper alignment forces some of your muscles to work incredibly hard all day long while others don’t get used, making them weaker. Sitting in the same position for a long time actually trains our muscles to shorten in some places, lengthen in others, and even reshape. These muscle imbalances can cause your body and muscles to be yanked into improper alignment.
What are some factors that can lead to poor posture?
- A sedentary lifestyle, such as years spent sitting/studying/working where you are slouched at a desk
- Working without ergonomic support
- Occupational demands
- Poor fitness
- Muscle weakness/muscle tightness
- Joint stiffness
- A lack of core stability
- Not knowing what correct posture is
Effects & Symptoms of Poor Posture?
Low back pain is the most common complaint from those who have poor posture but research shows neck, shoulder, and arm pain can also be increasingly widespread as well. When you’re looking at poor versus good posture, consider the following:
1: POOR Posture: Slouching, rounded shoulders, a prominent hunch (kyphosis), forward tilted head, bent knees, shoulder blades too far back, arching of your low back (lordosis), locked knees, pot belly
2: GOOD posture: Balanced upright posture, a straight line from the ear to shoulder to hip, no symptoms of pain
In this article we’ll talk about how good posture helps to reduce back pain, how identifying incorrect posture can help you to find relief, how good posture to straighten your back can have long-term benefits, and how massage can help you achieve better posture through muscle relaxation.
Take a Break from Sitting in an Office Chair
Sitting at a desk can frequently cause poor posture and put a strain on your lower back. Many people work sitting in an office chair, this author included, and often do so in a chair that isn’t properly fitted to their body and doesn’t offer enough lower back support. An ergonomic chair can help with this, but even better is working your best to hold your spine in proper alignment and invest in a massage chair that you can turn to whenever you need.
Remember, your spine is made for motion, and when sitting in any type of office chair (even an ergonomic one) for long periods of time, it is best to get up and stretch often throughout the day so that you can move around and recharge stiff muscles.
Poor posture can be the number one cause behind neck and back aches as well as tension headaches.
What are the Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage for Posture?
Deep tissue massage is a form of muscle manipulation and tissue release that uses firm, deeply penetrating strokes to alleviate the stress and tension which builds up in our bodies’ soft tissues after we’ve put them in a straining position for a long time. With a deep pressure reaching and stretching out the muscle fibres and increasing circulation to the muscles and tissues, deep tissue massage can help to reduce pain and increase range of movement.
The benefits can include:
- Minimized muscle & joint pain
- Increased joint mobility
- Better posture
- When paired with strengthening exercises it can improve muscle imbalances
- Better blood & lymph circulation
- Lower stress
- Fewer headaches
- Improved lifestyle
- Reduced fatigue
- Better breathing
When you’re using your massage chair to employ deep tissue and therapeutic massage, look for programs that involve lengthening tight muscles and working on strengthening the weak, lengthened ones. And don’t just focus on your lower back. Use your chair across the entire plane of your back and work on your arms and legs as well. This is because when we sit hunched over we strain the muscles in our shoulders and arms, while our lower back and leg muscles get weaker. All of these muscles are what’s called medial rotators and if left untreated so that they stay shortened it can contribute to pain.
Once lengthened with deep tissue massage, the opposing muscles that are overly stretched can be tended to with restorative massage and strength training exercises. And we all know how wonderful massage pairs with a workout regimen. You can read more about that here.
It is very hard to break a bad habit and frequently it requires a great deal of discipline. However, if poor posture is the habit you’re trying to break, your first step can be as simple as sitting back and relaxing. Deep tissue massage relaxes your overworked, sore muscles and allows your body to fall gracefully back into its natural alignment.
Allowing the body to reinforce healthy and natural movements can be one of the most beneficial aspects of massage therapy. A great number of people suffer from the negative effects of bad posture and yet do not change the factors of their lives which cause them the problem.
Improving poor posture is a conscious effort along with working on your soft tissues, you’ll want to make sure that you're stretching and using strengthening exercises to correct your muscle imbalances.
The importance of good posture can’t be overstated. Your posture is a part of your health, your appearance, and can even be linked to your success because it can often be a welcome image during an interview and at work. However, it’s not uncommon to have bad posture and many of us have to deal with it on a regular basis. Many activities, such as sitting, lifting heavy objects, sleeping, and standing for a long time can all affect our posture.
How we sit is a major contributor to poor posture though.
In this modern, and currently stay-at-home, world, so many of us have jobs that involve sitting at a desk and staring at a computer for 8 hours a day. And no matter how conducive to ergonomic positions your office, sitting for that long over and over is bad for our spines and overall health.
Few individuals remember to get up and move around by stretching or going for a brief walk while on break, and even fewer have the time to try and run to the spa to get a massage to help with that. If you aren’t sitting at work, you are probably sitting on your commute as you drive to and from work or when you get home, relaxing after a long day by sitting on the couch.
Bad sitting postures can affect the shape of our spinal cord, causing that stiff, painful back we all start to complain about as we grow older. With time, other serious complications can arise. The way we sleep, stand, and lift things also impact our posture. And yes, the rise in technology has also had an impact on our posture as well. People commonly roll their shoulders forward and bend their neck so that they can texting, browse social media, or read an eBook.
Thankfully, massage is very beneficial in reviving good posture habits, and when you own a massage chair you don’t have to make that long drive to the spa or work around their schedule. Massage can help in the following ways:
Relax Tense Muscles
Massage helps to relax tense muscles by using mild pressure and long strokes along your back, neck, and shoulders, occasionally even your arms and legs as well. During a massage knots or adhesions in your muscles are worked out and any tension present is released. When the muscles are not forced into a shortened state, they won’t be pulling down on your spine, allowing you to comfortably straighten your back and enjoy healthy posture. Deep tissue massages more effectively alleviates severe muscular tension because it can penetrate deeper into your soft tissues.
People typically experience pain in their lower back, neck, and shoulders when they are guilty of slouched posture. Massaging assists to stretch these sore muscles so that they don’t feel so overworked. It also helps to flush toxins out of your muscles as it increases circulation. The toxins are then carried away in your bloodstream to be disposed of as waste. With fewer toxins, such as lactic acids, in your muscles, they will start to feel much healthier and you’ll experience less pain.
Did you know that bad posture can actually affect your breathing? It’s true. In fact, allow us to prove it to you. Try sitting in a chair and then bend over, letting your hands rest on the floor. Can you take full, deep breaths. We think the answer is a clear no. Poor posture, while potentially not as dramatic as bending over, can limit how your lungs and diaphragm can move, causing stifled breathing. A massage however can help to relieve pain in the upper body muscles, improving your posture, and as a result help you to find better posture that gives your lungs the room they need to fully expand.
Reduces Risk Of Arthritis
With regular massage, you can also lower your risk of getting arthritis. A common form of arthritis, Osteoarthritis (OA), occurs when the cartilage between two bones within a joint wears down, which causes the bones to rub against each other. This can cause intense pain and swelling around the affected joints. Research has indicated that poor posture is one of the causes of OA, particularly in the spine. Massage frequently involves stimulating the muscles and joints to boost circulation in a particular area. Better circulation around your joints can assist to keep your cartilage healthy.
Massage can be extremely beneficial for poor posture and pain relief. When you employ a chair that can deliver a deep tissue or sports massage and combine it with strengthening activities for your weakened muscles, you can dramatically improve your posture and reduce pain, inflammation, and improve range of motion. While you should always consult your doctor before starting anything new, a massage chair can be an incredible tool and provide long-term results for your whole person- mind, body, and soul.
Finished With Your Research?
You can look into the chairs, techniques, and other benefits of massage in the Learning Center on our website, and you’ll be able to see the physical benefits each of the styles offered and what to be prepared for from them.
If you have any questions or are interested in purchasing your first massage chair, check out our Massage Chair Buying Guide or give us a call. You can even reach out through email at email@example.com.
With all this in mind, don’t forget about our financing options. We understand that investing in a massage chair is a big decision, and we want to help make that process as simple and stress-free as possible. Our sales representatives are ready and excited to get you into the perfect chair!