You probably know that bad posture can cause several problems in life, most of them having to do with your and neck. If you don’t sit properly, you may experience pain in your lower back, and if you slouch you might also have a sore neck or shoulders.
However, many people don’t know that these are not the only issues related to poor posture. Is it possible that bad posture can contribute to even more serious problems, such as abdominal pain?
Research by doctors and scientists has shown that bad posture can, in fact, lead to abdominal pain and a variety of digestive and gastrointestinal problems.
Doctors have seen patients become healthier simply as a result of improving their posture. They have reduced the amount of stomach pain they experience and eliminated cramps and other digestive issues that have plagued them in the past.
This research suggests that those who are suffering from abdominal pain should certainly seek to develop better postural habits so that they can experience positive effects.
How Can Posture Cause Stomach Pain?
You may not feel stomach pain when you are sitting with poor posture, but the things that are happening to your midsection if you are slouching are what contribute to the pain you might experience in the future.
First of all, sitting in a slouched position causes your stomach to compress, constricting the blood vessels in the region. This means that you will not benefit from an efficient flow of oxygenated blood to your stomach and other organs surrounding it.
Your digestion will slow down, and you may feel bloated and experience symptoms such as constipation and excess gas.
If you are in your chair for long amounts of time every day, your energy levels will also decrease, and your digestion will become worse. It is important to move around in order to get your circulation going.
This increased blood flow will help all areas of your body, including your gut. Remaining sedentary combined with the extra pressure caused by bad posture will only continue to exacerbate your digestive issues.
If you eat a lot of carbs during your lunch break, you may be making the problem even worse, especially if you suffer from poor posture. Experiments have shown dietary carbohydrates get absorbed at a far slower rate when sitting in a sedentary, hunched over position.
Some of these carbohydrates remain undigested in the gut and begin to ferment. This causes inflammation and irritation in your stomach and actually deprives you of nutrients which may lead to other symptoms such as weakness and illness.
Doctors say it is actually better to lie down after a large meal than it is to sit because this will relieve some of the pressure on your abdominal section.
The bloating caused by your poor posture leads to even further problems such as stomach distension and painful gas. When you have too much gas in your system, you may experience cramps and intestinal spasms.
This makes you feel worse and leads to even further digestive problems. If you don’t sit properly, it is best for you to remain on your feet and try to be active after eating so that you don’t contribute to these digestive problems.
Can Posture During Eating Affect Digestion?
Posture isn’t just confined to how you hold yourself when you are working at your desk or walking around. You must also practice good posture when at the dinner or lunch table.
This isn’t only for the appearance of good manners – it may serve to help your digestion after you are finished eating.
Studies have shown that patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome have highly relaxed abdominal muscles that may be caused by unusual diaphragm contractions.
These problems can be caused by having poor posture such as leaning forward with your torso, putting unnecessary stress on the rest of the muscles in your body, specifically your abdominal muscles.
This posture also makes it more likely that food will not be chewed thoroughly, meaning that it will not be digested as efficiently as it should be. This can lead to excessive bloating and gas, making your situation even more uncomfortable and embarrassing.
Can Posture Affect Abdominal Muscles Too?
It is clear that bad posture has negative effects on our internal organs, especially those that are required for digestion. They can become constricted and suffer from malabsorption and indigestion. But, can bad posture also lead to the pain of the abdominal muscles surrounding these organs?
The answer is a resounding yes. If we don’t engage our core enough to practice poor posture, we will suffer from weakened abdominal muscles. This means that every time we actually are required to utilize them, we will feel more pain because they are not ready to perform the job.
One simple movement that requires us to use our ab muscles may cause us to pull or strain, putting pressure on them that we aren’t used to. This can lead to injury or strain, causing pain for several days after this happens.
Fortunately, muscles gain strength with time and usage, so we can prevent this by working out our abdominal muscles.
It may be painful at first as we get used to it, but it will be worth it in the end as the pain in the area starts to go away and our abs get stronger. These stronger abs also help to encourage better posture, so it is a win-win situation.
How to Fix Poor Posture
If you are experiencing abdominal pain as a result of poor posture, there are many things that you can do to help yourself.
It may sound annoying or difficult at first, but you will be happy as you notice that you are becoming healthier and even looking better simply because you are standing and sitting straighter.
The ultimate benefit, however, is that you won’t be suffering from the digestive issues that have plagued you in the past. Practice some of these pieces of advice if you are looking to improve your posture
Look in the Mirror
Chances are that you aren’t often looking at yourself when you are walking or working at your desk. Take a minute to assume your natural position and look at yourself in the mirror.
Your palms should be facing your thighs and your thumbs should be pointing forward. However, if you have poor posture, it is likely that your palms will face backward.
This suggests that you are probably slouching whenever you are sitting at your desk. Pull your head and shoulders back, keeping your chest out. This is how you are supposed to stand when practicing good posture.
Fix Your Desk and Chair Setup
It can be easy to fall into the trap of leaning into your computer and curving your back. This is awful for your posture and for your digestive system.
People may think that leaning back is poor posture, but it is actually better than hunching forward. Ideally, you should find a chair that keeps your back upright and allows you to lean a little bit back while keeping your knees elevated.
Keep the top of your screen at eye level and the monitor at an arm’s length away. This is the perfect position to allow you to look straight ahead without straining your neck or back.
If you are not flexible, you may find it painful or difficult to sit in these positions for long periods of time. This is because your muscles have become weakened and accustomed to detrimental positions over the years that you have been hunching over.
You can take a class at the local gym or find many great videos online that will help you with your flexibility. Start slowly, but remain consistent, practicing every day. Pretty soon you’ll notice that you look far better both when you are sitting and standing and that you feel much stronger.
Do Core Exercises
As we mentioned earlier, your core is extremely important in promoting good posture. The core is the entire area that extends from under your rib cage all the way to the middle of your thigh.
So, it includes your abdominal muscles but also several other groups. There are many core exercises that will help you to strengthen your midsection.
This, in turn, will cause your posture to naturally improve as your muscles assume more beneficial positions. You’ll get the added benefit of improved digestion as you continue to work on your core.
Bad Posture poses a myriad of health risks for all of us. We may not know it, but it even extends to our digestive system and abdominal muscles.
Pain in the midsection can be a debilitating condition, so it is important that we practice good posture in order to keep ourselves away from this.
There are a few tasks and habits that need to be changed, but after just a short amount of time, you will see the long list of benefits that can be had if you simply focus on good posture.