Slouching may be fashionable for some red carpet regulars, but it's one of several reasons why about 80% of us will have spinal problems in our lifetime.
And yet, most of us can cure or even avoid back pain and surgery by taking a few daily preventive steps. Spinal problems can start as early as age 29, so it's never too early or too late to start.
People tend to forget the spine is part of the central nervous system, along with the brain, and relies on the peripheral nervous system: the millions of nerves that send messages to the brain that control the body's functions. An unhealthy spine interferes with this entire system, causing a host of unwelcome health issues such as pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms and legs, impaired breathing and digestion and impaired control of the bowel and bladder.
Here are a few tips to help you take better care of your spine and back:
Good posture is essential
Dr. Kenneth Hansraj
Remember your mother saying "Stop slouching"? You would think it goes without saying, but too many of us simply don't maintain good posture, which is critical for a healthy spine.
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Good posture is defined as ears aligned with the shoulders and the "angel wings," or the shoulder blades, retracted. In proper alignment, spinal stress is diminished. It is the most efficient position to achieve the best posture possible.
Good posture also has other health and wellness benefits. Researchers at San Francisco State University have found a link between poor posture and depression, and many experts believe stooping and slouching could be associated with weight gain, heartburn, migraines, anxiety and respiratory conditions.
Proper posture leads to a taller appearance, deeper breathing, improved well-being and increased energy with enhanced human performance.