The Effects of Poor Posture on Your Health

How many times have you heard your mother tell you to “stand up straight” or “stop slouching”? Or, do you find yourself saying it to your own children? Having poor posture is much more than just looking a little sloppy while you stand, sit, or walk, and it can negatively affect many areas of your life and health. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 80 percent of all Americans have experienced poor posture-related issues at some time in their lives. If you or someone you love has poor posture, keep reading to learn more about the effects of poor posture on your health and how you can get on track to start fixing these issues with a sleep apnea specialist in Los Angeles.

What Defines Poor Posture?

It can be difficult for an individual to realize they have bad posture unless someone alerts them. However, many symptoms can help you know you need to work on your posture. Signs of poor posture include:

  • Rounded shoulders
  • Potbelly
  • Bent knees when standing or walking
  • Head that either leans forward or backward
  • Back pain
  • Body aches and pains
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Headache

What Is Correct Posture?

There are two types of posture to be aware of. These include:

  1. Dynamic posture is how you hold yourself when you are moving, like when you are walking, running, or bending over to pick up something.
  2. Static posture is how you hold yourself when you are not moving, like when you are sitting, standing, or sleeping.

Also according to the National Library of Medicine, the key to good posture is the position of your spine. Your spine has three natural curves – at your neck, mid-back, and lower back. Correct posture should maintain these curves but not increase them. Your head should be above your shoulders, and the top of your shoulder should be over the hips.

Other tips for correct posture include:

  • Stand up straight and tall
  • Push your shoulders back
  • Pull in your stomach
  • Put your weight on the balls of your feet
  • Let your arms hang down
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart

Poor Posture and Poor Sleep

Poor posture throughout the day can cause you to have poor sleep at night. Due to your muscles and spine being misaligned and pulled into unnatural places, your entire system is unable to rest. You may find yourself tossing and turning throughout the night, unable to find a comfortable position.

In addition, the severe pain you feel in your neck, back, or shoulders brought on by your poor posture may make it difficult for your body to rest at night. You may also begin grinding your teeth, snoring, or suffering from sleep apnea due to your poor posture throughout the day.

Sleep Apnea

In addition to being uncomfortable, poor posture can cause sleep apnea. When your face, jaw, neck, and shoulder muscles are misaligned, it will decrease your body’s ability to breathe efficiently. You will start breathing through your mouth instead of your nose, causing sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can negatively impact the way your body processes oxygen, which leads to a host of health issues in itself.

Learning about proper resting posture for your mouth and jaw, doing exercises such as Myofunctional Therapy, and making an appointment with a sleep apnea specialist in Los Angeles can help you get on track to better sleep.

Poor Circulation

Bad posture can cause poor circulation due to the consistent tightening and stretching of your muscles and joints. Blood cannot travel throughout the body properly, which can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues. When your heart pumps more to make up for the poor blood flow, you will start feeling these adverse health effects.

Back and Neck Pain

It should come as no surprise that poor posture will cause back and neck pain. The constant straining, tightening, and overcompensating your muscles are doing all the time will cause them to become sore and fatigued. Back and neck pain can lead to issues like:

  • Increased risk of falling
  • Mobility issues
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Chronic pain
  • Fatigue
  • Nerve issues or damage
  • Spine issues or damage

In many instances, people have back and neck pain from poor posture due to how they sit at their desks for long hours at a time. This is usually a relatively easy fix if you are willing to make a few lifestyle changes. These include:

  • Consider a standing desk. Standing desks force you to get off your chair and move around while you work, decreasing pressure on your lower back and tailbone.
  • Set a reminder. It can be challenging to be aware of your posture, especially when you are enthralled with work. Using your smartphone, set a reminder once an hour to sit up straight and correct your posture.
  • Take a walk. Throughout your workday, take quick walks. They can be as short as 3-5 minutes, or just a lap to go get more coffee. Getting up and moving your body around a few times during the day will do wonders for your neck and back pain.

Dental Issues

Interestingly, poor posture can lead to a wide array of dental issues. When your back, neck, shoulders, and jaw are misaligned, it will cause muscles to pull in unnatural directions. One of the culprits becomes your jaw, mouth, and, ultimately, your teeth.

Signs your poor posture is affecting your mouth include:

  • Pain in the jaw, ear, eyes, and other TMJ symptoms
  • Crowded teeth, even after braces
  • Gum recession or a gummy smile
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Teeth grinding during sleep
  • Gum disease
  • Obstructions, causing sleep apnea and treatment from a sleep apnea specialist in Los Angeles

Breathing Efficacy

The way you breathe matters, especially if you are prone to breathing through your mouth. Your body’s default way of breathing is through the nose. However, when the nose is clogged or blocked, the body automatically switches into survival mode and breathes through the mouth. This is fine as a temporary solution, such as when you are sick or otherwise have a stuffy nose. However, if you consistently breathe through your mouth due to your posture, you will run into negative health issues.

Reasons breathing through your nose is so important include:

  • Filters the air that comes into your lungs, such as pollen and other small particles
  • Adds moisture to the air you breathe to prevent dryness in the lungs and bronchial tubes
  • When you breathe through your mouth, you do not have this same filter, and things that would usually have been filtered will find their way into your lungs and airways, causing infections, bad breath, cavities, and much more.

It can be difficult to self-diagnose mouth breathing since it primarily happens while you are sleeping. However, some signs and Symptoms of Mouth Breathing that you can start taking note of include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Sore throat or hoarseness, primarily upon waking
  • Feeling irritable after waking up
  • Fatigue throughout the day
  • Dark circles and/or bags under the eyes
  • Sleep apnea

How to Improve Posture

In many cases, there are quick and easy lifestyle changes you can make to improve your posture. These include:

Suggestions include:

  • Setting reminders throughout the day to correct your posture, primarily if you work at a desk or otherwise sit all-day
  • Take time to stretch at least a few times a week to get your muscles loose and improve your flexibility, and consider yoga
  • Take part in an exercise routine to keep your muscles strong and healthy, especially by performing abdominal exercises.
  • When you start feeling neck or back pain, take time to stretch your neck muscles by turning your head from side to side
  • Avoid chairs that are too comfortable and soft. There’s nothing wrong with relaxing on the couch every once in a while, but make sure you don’t spend too much time on a soft surface
  • Similarly, avoid mattresses that are too soft. Your mattress should be slightly firm and supportive enough to keep your back straight rather than curved while you sleep
  • Your pillow shouldn’t be too soft either; use a slightly firm pillow that supports your neck and keeps it somewhat elevated
  • Consider lumbar supports for your car if you have a long commute
  • Invest in an ergonomic chair or standing desk for your workstation

For more severe cases of poor posture, you may need to seek treatment. Treatment for poor posture includes:

  • Myofunctional therapy. Myofunctional Therapy is a type of treatment to help disorders of the muscles and functions of the face and mouth. According to the Academy of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders are disorders of the muscles and functions of the face and mouth. OMDs may directly and/or indirectly affect breastfeeding, facial skeletal growth, development, chewing, swallowing, speech, occlusion, temporomandibular joint movement, oral hygiene, the stability of orthodontic treatment, facial esthetics, and more.
  • Physical therapy. Regular physical therapy appointments with a physical therapist or chiropractor to start working on your posture. With a physical therapist, you can work on exercises at home or the clinic, and a chiropractor or acupuncturist can help straighten your spine and help keep pain at bay.
  • Sleep apnea specialist Los Angeles. If you live in the Los Angeles area and you have been negatively impacted by your poor posture, a sleep apnea specialist in Los Angeles can help you. Dr. Martin Gorman specializes in treating TMJ, sleep disorders, and dentistry related to poor posture.

About Gorman Health and Wellness

Poor posture can do much more than cause back pain, comments, or strange looks. It can seriously impact your life in many ways, but luckily, it is treatable. Dr. Gorman is a part of the breathing wellness movement, aiming to increase awareness and improve treatment for sleep-related airway conditions like sleep apnea.

He has partnered with organizations focused on collaborating with dentists to apply the sciences of Craniofacial Epigenetics (the study of cranial modifications caused by gene expression as opposed to genetic code alteration) and Pneumopedics® (the practical application of oral appliance therapy and non-surgical airway remodeling) in the management of sleep apnea. Together, applying these sciences allows for underlying causes of airway obstruction to be treated in 98% of cases, resulting in a high success rate among sleep apnea patients.

For every sleep apnea case at our practice, Dr. Gorman will gather patient data and determine the patient’s specific needs based on home sleep test results, dental impressions, CT scans, and images. Our state-of-the-art technology, paired with Dr. Gorman’s experience with sleep disorders, allows him to find the most effective treatment plan for each individual’s particular case, yielding improved daytime and nighttime breathing for the patient.

“I have been helping people suffering from Sleep Apnea with a non-invasive, clinically approved treatment method. This method has allowed my patients to sleep with far fewer events per hour, allowing them to get rid of their CPAP and BiPAP machines. Imagine not having to use one of those machines, getting back a much greater quality of life along with the benefits of being able to breathe better.” – Dr. Gorman.

For more information on Dr. Gorman and improving your quality of life through correcting your posture, contact us today.

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