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Posture is the position in which we hold our bodies while sitting, standing or lying down. There are several negative effects of bad posture on the muscular and skeletal systems of the body. To avoid a bad posture and reduce its effect, we can train our bodies to sit, walk, stand and lie down so that there is less stress on our muscles and ligaments. Many conditions that affect the muscular and skeletal system will affect our posture.
You can think of the human body as a biomechanical structure, composed of three systems:
In addition, there is a deep interconnection between these three systems. Thus, you cannot change one without affecting the other two. This amazing interaction allows us to do exceptional beautiful things. This is also the reason the effects of bad posture can affect the muscular and skeletal systems.
For instance, if you strain a joint in the back (the skeletal system) by lifting something incorrectly or sitting in an incorrect position, the muscles associated with the back (the myofascial system) will try to compensate for it and then become hyperactive and inflamed. This irritates the nerves (the neural system) connected to the joint and muscles and runs them close, making them sensitive. These nerves then send the muscles to a sustained spasm. Over time, this can harden the joint and cause more tension.
Here are some ways the effects of poor posture can affect the skeletal and muscular systems of the body.
Our skeletons are the support system for our entire body. Bad posture is caused by many things. The reasons include inherited physical diseases, infections of the inner ear, nervous system disorders, eye problems, muscular and skeletal problems and psychological problems such as low self-esteem, which cause slouching. If they are not corrected, all these causes of poor posture can lead to serious problems with the skeletal system.
A slouched posture causes compression of the ribs and a curve in the spine. The rib cage becomes stiff and rigid and prevents your lungs from fully expanding. This creates a lack of oxygen that affects the entire system, from the skin to the heart and other organs. Poor posture is made worse by lack of exercise and, in some cases, obesity can cause weakened stomach muscles that normally help keep the pelvis in the right position.
Weak muscles mean that the pelvis is tilted forward, which further exaggerates poor posture and can make the standing position painful. It is necessary to know how to stand appropriately.
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Furthermore, bow leggedness is a condition created by a bad posture that leans to one side and puts more weight on the instep or the outstep of the foot. Over time, the knees weaken and twist. The slouching pushes the shoulders back and concentrates all the support weight that the hips normally carry in front of the knees. This tension creates painful knee joints.
At the top of the skeletal scale, the neck is the first place where problems with bad posture often arise. Neck pain also causes tension that radiates to the shoulders and also to the head to cause headaches. Slouching makes the shoulders rotate. Prolonged time in this position causes the muscles and tendons to adapt and shorten, making it a “natural” position, which means that standing up actually causes pain.
These are all effects of bad posture on the muscular and skeletal systems. For the skeletal system, bad posture will cause:
Skeletal conditions resulting from poor posture are the result of poor alignment of the spine.
When you have a good posture, the upper cervical curve, the middle thoracic curve and the lower lumbar curve of your spine are balanced along an imaginary vertical line that descends your body from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. Good posture ensures that your spine is not tilted to one side or the other of your body or exaggerated along its natural curves.
Bad posture interrupts the alignment of the spine by emphasizing too much one or more of the curves of the spine or causing a horizontal curvature of the spine. A misaligned spine disrupts the alignment of other bones and major muscles, which can cause short-term pain or long-term structural damage.
There are connective tissue that cushions and protects the joint during movement. The amount of connective tissue reflects the supportive properties of the joint. A misaligned spine causes a redistribution of weight or stress throughout the body, so joints that were not meant to withstand a significant amount of stress should now do so to compensate for poor posture. When the joints withstand stress beyond their ability, this results in temporary or long-term pain, as well as in the degradation of connective tissue support. Poor posture most often affects the joints of the spine, knees, and shoulders.
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The skeletal system coordinates growth with muscle fibers to maintain alignment and balance. Certain forms of chronic poor posture have a negative impact on normal growth patterns. For example, poor posture that puts additional pressure on the vertebrae of the spine will lead to faster wear of the connective discs, compressing the bones of the spine and causing loss of height. Poor posture that compresses bones and joints also inhibits the growth of muscle fibers, which reduces strength or height.
Bad posture is a contributing factor to osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the result of a severe rupture of the connective tissue between the joints that protects the bones from friction and pain. When the posture disrupts the balance of the joints, the connective tissue wears out, exposing bone to bone. Sometimes, the affected joints calcify and fuse the neighboring bones in unnatural or painful positions, especially in the spine and hands. Posture is particularly critical for osteoarthritis since the condition often exacerbates poor posture, which can make the pain worse. Osteoarthritis cannot be cured or reversed, but pain can be controlled with physiotherapy and medications.
However, just like all beings, your posture can become bad over time. Whether it is scoliosis, weight training with poor technique or spending long hours sitting at a desk, bad posture can be corrected. Find out how long it will take to correct your posture here.
You can see the negative effects of bad posture on the skeletal and muscular systems in several ways. One way it affects the muscular system is that it creates muscular imbalance and postural dysfunction.
Your body has muscles (or muscle groups) that are attached to each side of a joint and work against each other to control the movement of the joint. It’s a bit like the handlebars of your bike which you can drive with one hand, but using two hands working against each other gives you much better control.
When one side of the opposite muscles is stronger than the other, it has a muscular imbalance. For example, if you regularly use the muscles on one side much more than the other, they become stronger, shorter and tighter. On the other hand, the other muscle weakens, lengthen and relax. The shorter and stronger muscles take this part of your body out of position. Your entire body will eventually make adjustments to compensate for this.
In the bicycle analogy, if one of your arms was a little shorter than the other, you should adjust your driving position slightly to continue driving in a straight line.
The causes of muscle imbalances are often something you do as a habit and usually due to the little things we do every day. You can regularly sit slouching over your computer for a long time. Again, you may be training a muscle group but not the opposite group.
This is one way the effects of bad posture affects the muscular and skeletal systems.
We all occupy positions in which we spend a lot of time. If any of these positions put your spine and other joints out of their normal balanced alignment, it is a postural dysfunction. Your muscles will adapt and become unbalanced, as described above.
When a muscle imbalance pulls one of your joints out of its position, it puts pressure on that joint. When this tension stresses the nerves around the joint, you feel pain. If your body will readjust to relieve pain. Other muscle groups may become unbalanced and the cycle may continue.
If you slouch toward your computer for long periods of time, it will put pressure on the upper joints of the back and neck. This makes the muscles in the back of the neck short and tight. But in the front of the neck, the muscles will be long and weak. This is called muscle imbalance. The pressure on your joints and tense muscles irritates the neighboring nerves. This reduces your mobility, which you experience as pain and sensitivity. Your myofascial system tries to adapt, causing muscle spasms. First, you experience pain and stiffness in your neck, then in your shoulders and arms.
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It is a vicious circle. A small local problem in certain muscles can become a neuromuscular and skeletal problem that affects distant parts of your body.
As we have discussed, postural dysfunction is also an after effect of bad posture effects on muscular and skeletal systems.
To treat the effects of bad posture on the skeletal and muscular systems I encourage you to read our article on how to keep a straight posture and how to maintain good posture. In those articles, I explained everything you need to know about keeping and maintaining a straight posture.
Bad posture puts the entire skeletal system out of position and creates tension to the base of the foot structure. It also causes strain and stress on the muscular system.
The effects of bad posture on the skeletal and muscular systems can improve if you carry out effective exercises.
You can employ the help of a chiropractor to help relieve the pain that comes with the effects of bad posture on the skeletal and muscular systems.