Did you grow up with a mother that constantly told you to stand up straight? Or perhaps she always corrected your shoulders when you walked in the room. While it was probably annoying, and not in the least helpful, your mom was also right about how important your posture is to your everyday life.

Correct posture is when your back is in the best possible alignment, from the top of your head, all the way down to your pelvis and tailbone. But if you’re like most people, you probably aren’t too sure what it’s like to have proper posture and all the different pieces that can entail. Did you know that your shoulders are involved with posture, or that your hips can affect your posture too?

Your posture not only should look pretty, but it also can be a determining factor between having back pain and not. Correct posture can be an indicator of correct muscle function and help to relieve pressure off of specific areas of the back.

So what does correct posture look like?

There are a few key points to correct posture. Consider how your head, chest, back, and hips are aligned when you stand. For correct posture, your head, chest, and thighs should all be in a straight line. Your lower back shouldn’t be flat, nor should it be over arched. You can typically tell if your lower back has the correct arch by if your stomach muscles are flat, where they are engaged but not overly tight. Your pelvis should also be slightly scooped so that when you walk, you can feel your glutes engage and your thighs leading each step. Think of correct posture like a string that is tied directly to the center of your head and a puppetmaster pulling straight up on it all the way down through your spine.

Your posture is something you need to think about if you’re sitting, standing, sleeping, walking, or running. If you’re struggling with adjusting to correct posture to help relieve back pain, physical therapy may be for you. Ask yourself about your posture for each of these positions. When you’re standing, are your shoulders and back inline with your neck? Are you standing tall? Are you gently engaging your lower stomach muscles? Are you knees slightly bent and not locked? These are a few simple questions you can ask yourself to check your posture every time you stand. The same goes for sitting. Are you sitting up tall? Is your head in a neutral position? Are your shoulders back and relaxed? Are you knees slightly lower than your hips? Are your feet flat on the floor? If you answered all these questions with an affirmative, you’re probably sitting with good posture. If you answered any of these questions with a no, then address and correct the concern.

Utilizing good posture on a regular basis is exceptionally important to reducing back pain. If you find yourself struggling with posture on a regular basis, turn to the physical therapy specialists at Progressive Health and Rehab for help improving your posture. Call to schedule an appointment today.