The only answer to this question is VERY!
Posture ranks one of the most important issues when it comes to staying physically fit healthy. It is just as important as eating your 5 a day or exercising regular. You may stay very active & fit but if your posture is bad and affecting your back you may not be functioning at your full potential.
Bad posture can stem from many things, but the majority of the time it is from repetitive movements without frequent breaks.
If sitting for long periods of time, whether it be traveling in the car or sitting at your desk typing up reports it is vitally important that you take a break every hour or so and move.
This movement can prevent any permanent damage that may be caused by long periods of inactivity. If you work at a desk a lot of the time, it’s very easy to get lazy with your posture and slouch, but in doing so you end up with rounded shoulders and a neck that juts forward.
This can over stretches your back and neck muscles and shorten your chest muscles. Now, looking at the image to the left, can we see how such a simple slouch can cause a lot more damage than you would think? Posture is very very important in any profession so always keep this in mind when yo uare going through your daily routine, and consider how an action, or position may be affecting your structure.
When reviewing the number of clients we see who report experiencing a sore neck, chest & back (not relating to specific illness or injury) we have assessed that it is mostly attributed to poor posture. If you are holding yourself incorrectly for hours at a time on a daily basis your body, like most things, will adapt to this new position.
Through our bodies attempt to always maintain Homeostasis, or balance, our eyes always adapt to be Horizontal, so if your shoulders are rounded, then your spine becomes rounded too, which then curves your neck. And if you try to look directly in front of yourself in that position it is putting serious pressure on your neck as the weight of your head is no longer evenly balanced upon your spine.
Bad posture is usually just a bad habit and, like most bad habits, once recognized as having a negative impact on your life, can be addressed. Massage along with stretches & exercises to do at home will improve your posture, relax those overstretched muscles and get you back in-line. But if it is not treated and left to worsen over many years thats when spinal conditions and chronic pain start kicking in, and they are not so easy to treat.
Conditions That May Occur Due To Bad Posture:
- Kyphosis (over-curvature of the Thoracic Vertebrae)
- Chronic Back Pain
- Sciatica/Piriformis Syndrome
- Shoulder/Neck Pain
- Patellofemoral Knee Pain (runner’s knee)
- Low Back Pain
- Shoulder Impingement
- Trigger Points
- Nerve Impingement
By dealing with postural issues early on we can assist in correcting them, leave it too long and it could escalate and become something you will have to live with for a long time. Regular massage, chiropractors, physiotherapist etc can all help you if you suffer from posture related issues so don’t hesitate when it comes to pain. Pain is a warning that something isn’t working the way it should. Listen to your body and help yourself when you need it.