Is back, neck, and hip pain something you frequently deal with? Does it seem like you just can’t shake these aches and pains, no matter how much you stretch or exercise?
Maybe you blame it on a pinched nerve. Perhaps you think you’ve pulled a muscle and it isn’t getting better. But the truth probably has a much simpler explanation; your posture might just be all jacked up.
We don’t often think about our posture – even people who lead a very fitness oriented lifestyle tend to ignore this one very important aspect of health. The problem isn’t necessarily a person’s fault, though; if anything, it’s due to this hectic modern world.
Whether posture issues are due to a sedentary job, long daily commute in a vehicle, or even a bad mattress, many things can contribute to poor posture. And bad posture can cause a lot of problems.
Short term problems associated with poor posture:
- It changes the alignment of bones, muscles, and connective tissue.
- It reshapes your body so that it no longer runs at optimal efficiency.
- It can inhibit movement.
- It causes various muscles to tighten, creating chronic pain.
- It weakens muscles and joints.
Long term problems associated with poor posture:
- It can lead to the weakening of overall bone structure.
- Present issues with circulation and heart performance.
- Causes digestive problems due to misaligned organs.
- Creates breathing issues and or sleep apnea.
- Makes you more susceptible to getting arthritis.
- Eventually breakdown of the body may occur which can lead to a shortened lifespan.
The main reason poor posture develops is from maintaining a specific position for extended periods of time. The human body is built to adapt to its surroundings. So this means if you spend a good portion of your day sitting at a desk, your joints and muscles will eventually shape themselves into a “posture” that’ll make being in that position more comfortable.
Unfortunately, this does little for when you’re not in that position—no longer seated and slouched. This is why office workers and people with desk jobs tend to have very bad posture.
It’s difficult for them to work in such a way where they won’t be put in a posture wrecking position for long stretches of time. But don’t worry, we have a few tips on how to help fix your posture and get rid of that nagging pain once and for all.
4. Tight Calves
When looking for possible causes of bad posture, you must first start from the bottom and work your way up. One common cause for poor posture as well as knee, hip, and back pain, are tight calves.
Having tight calves will change your gait; your muscles will work differently to compensate for the tightness of the calves, which causes a chain reaction all the way up the body—ultimately leading to bad posture.
Women struggle with having tight calves more often than men because they tend to wear uncomfortable shoes. Improperly fitting shoes can cause your calves to tighten as well as a host of other muscular imbalances.
This is especially true when it comes to wearing high heels. High heels can cause your calf muscles to shorten over time as you’re always walking as if you were on your toes. Look to wear flats more than high heels to avoid this.
An easy way to tell if you’re suffering from tight calves is to sit on a chair, lift your legs straight out in front of you, and pull your toes back towards your knees as far as they’ll go.
Your toes should be able to point 10-20 degrees beyond a right angle, but if you have tight calves you may find it difficult to even get them to reach a right angle.
There are numerous exercises you can do to help relieve and prevent calf tightness. A simple move is to roll your calf up and down on a foam roller, looking for any tender spots in your calf.
If you find one, keep the foam roller in that position until the pain subsides. You can also perform wall stretches and floor stretches to work both parts of the calf muscles.
The video below will show you some good stretches you can do at home to help your calves and feet.