Poor posture, back pain? Here’s how to break your bad habits

Here are three common posture mistakes, and tips to correct them

Vahdaneh Vahid

Published: Updated:

Our daily lives are full of unconscious bad-posture habits that can cause problems from back pain to blood flow and breathing restrictions. Here are three common posture mistakes, and tips to correct them.

Talking on the phone and texting

Most of us tilt our head while talking on the phone, and drop the head forward while texting, which can cause neck pain and headaches. Try to use headphones while talking on the phone, and when texting hold your phone up to eye level. To release muscle tension and improve your posture, you can use a theracane (self-massager) or your hands to perform the massage.

- Lie down on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees
- To locate the muscle, see the diagram below with the area highlighted in blue
- The ideal area to apply pressure is right underneath the jaw
- holding the theracane at the end of the handle, use the side adjustments to pinpoint the tender spots in the neck and massage into them
- Do not to limit the pressure you place on this region - as it such a dense area, it may take up to 10 minutes as you release each tender spot
- Try to breathe deeply and slowly through your nose as you go through each tender point

Over-weight bags and purses

This causes shoulder discrepancy and shifts in the body to compensate, which can lead to spinal issues and back pain. If you always carry your bag on one shoulder, switch over, keep it varied, and try to reduce the frequency of carriage. The overhead depression exercise helps you learn to disengage the shoulders when raising the arms overhead. It will help improve posture by strengthening the muscles between the shoulder blades.

- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, and look down to your feet (if you cannot see your ankles, your hips are too far forward - slightly push your hips back)
- Tilt your pelvis under and draw your belly button in toward your spine to activate your core
- place your arms at a 90-degree angle up in front, and keep your palms facing toward each other
- Breathe deeply into your lungs, allowing your ribcage to expand outward - the breathing will help straighten your spine and elongate your posture
- Slowly raise the hand straight up toward the ceiling, keeping your shoulder blades down
so you are not shrugging
- If you are performing the exercise correctly, you will feel a significant burn between the shoulder blades
- perform three sets of four to six repetitions

Walking poorly

Most of us walk in shoes all day and tend to stand with our weight over our heels, which causes our feet to become weak and increases stress on our weight-bearing joints (ankles, knees, hips and lower back). Take off your shoes when possible, use bare feet in your leisure time, and when purchasing shoes buy thin soles if possible.

When at the gym, use equipment to stand on which has an uneven surface, such as a bosu or wobble board. If you live near the beach, you can use the uneven surface of the sand to walk or run on. This will help activate the nerve receptors in your feet, and can help your nervous system; the brain and muscles connect more efficiently to create better coordination, which helps your posture and quality of movement.

Vahdaneh Vahid can be contacted on Facebook and Instagram.