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An Ouch in Your Slouch!

An Ouch in Your Slouch!

Although experts say that one's posture is psychological, an expression of your attitude towards the world, slouching is a posture problem which generally affects appearance and health. Chronic pain, digestive problems, decrease in mental performance and other health problems are common concerns related to improper posture.

Here is a list of health problems which will make you aware of the risks of having a bad posture.

Increase in Blood Pressure: Slouching can trigger high blood pressure because there is a link between neck muscles and the area of the brain that helps regulate blood pressure. If the neck muscles become damaged or pressured through bad posture, this could trigger problems with blood pressure, suggests Professor Jim Deuchars, a neuro-scientist at the University of Leeds. He adds that this might explain why some people who suffer from whiplash injuries notice a chance in their blood pressure- sometimes higher and sometimes lower.

Heartburn: When you slouch for a long period, there could be a shift in your body's centre of gravity. Slouching makes your pelvis tip forward, and makes your stomach and digestive organs shift forward too. The sphincter muscle in the esophagus that stops the digestive acids from the stomach to re-enter the esophagus becomes ineffective in stopping acid reflux, thus causing heartburn.

Headaches: When you slouch for an extended period of time, your neck and chin automatically come forward to compensate for the change in posture. You would have noticed this when you sit in front of the computer for extended periods of time. Tension develops at the base of the skull, which pinches the trigeminal nerve that leads to a headache, starting from the base of the skull and thereby shoots upwards towards the forehead.

Bloated Feeling: Slouching puts pressure on the abdomen, leaving you feeling bloated even if you have eaten in normal portions. Dr Michael Mendall, a gastroenterologist at Croydon University Hospital, says stooping can make feelings of bloatedness worse because it squashes the abdomen - so after a big meal, sit up straight to avoid discomfort.

Piddling: Slouching exerts more weight on your bladder and pelvic muscles. People who slouch may suffer from leaks whenever they sneeze, laugh or cough. On the other hand, when you sit up straight, more of the pelvic floor muscles are engaged, which in turn supports the bladder muscles.

Remember that no matter what your age is, there is a lot that you can do to improve your posture. The process is reversible if detected early before permanent changes have taken place!

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