You hear it all the time, “Stop slouching! Bring your shoulders back!” But does it matter? Does posture really make a difference? Yes, it does.

Research estimates that approximately 85% of back and neck injuries are from repetitive misuse. And what is poor posture? It’s repetitive misuse. The spine has natural curves. When you walk around with bad posture, you are preventing the spine from maintaining these natural curves, which can result in injury. Good posture means properly maintaining the spine’s natural curves and allowing the spine-stabilizing muscles to do their job.

Poor posture is a common cause of repetitive misuse to the spine because people don’t know any different. Most people aren’t educated on what poor posture is, or how to avoid it. Here are three, easy tips to achieving good posture (Please note: You may find all of this advice with accompanying pictures in Secrets to Preventing Back and Neck Pain.):

  1. Keep your head neutral – Don’t place your head too far forward, backward, up, or down. The ideal head position has a SLIGHT chin tuck, which means your head should appear on the verge of having a double-chin, but hardly as extreme.
  2. Bring your shoulders back – Yes, the “old wives tale” is true. You need to bring your shoulders back. So, thank your mother for scolding you all those times. However, most people don’t know how to properly bring back their shoulders even if they’re told. Use this tip to know if your shoulders are properly positioned: stand up and place your arms at your side with your palms facing behind you. Next, rotate your thumbs all the way out until you can’t rotate them any further. This end position places your shoulders in the proper postural position. You don’t have to keep your hands in that position to maintain proper shoulder position.
  3. Stretch your head toward the ceiling/sky – The hardest postural concept for most people to understand involves the maintenance of the low back curve. Unfortunately, the low back curve, in my opinion, is the most important. As a result, if you imagine stretching your head up toward the ceiling/sky, you will automatically place your low back in the proper position.

Implementing these three tips will ensure you are walking around with proper posture. As you can tell, having proper posture is easy. You just have to know what to do. Hopefully, you will spread the word on how to obtain proper posture so we can eliminate the pandemic known as back and neck pain!