How often have you been told that you are slouching? That you should straighten up?

Well, When it comes to preventing tension headaches, perhaps they were giving you excellent advise.

So why is slouching so bad?

A Slouching position puts pressure on your bones, thereby causing discs to become compressed and making you vulnerable to back pain. Also, it causes your pelvic muscles to go slack, which makes it progressively harder to support a well-aligned stance.

Nerves in your neck get pinched as well, causing tight muscles…and tension headaches.

In addition, this posture can cause other problems:

it can lead to incorrect head positioning that can cause improper spine function when your head is in this forward posture can add up to 30 pounds of abnormal leverage to your cervical spine.

Forward-head posture causes a loss of vital lung capacity, by as much as 30 percent, which can lead to heart and vascular problems

Your entire gastrointestinal system can be adversely affected (elimination problems are common with people who have a forward-head posture)

Forward-head posture leads to unsightly hunching

How to check to make sure your posture is normal:

• Stand in front of a full-length mirror and assume your usual stance.

• Are your shoulders somewhat rounded?

• Is your pelvis rotated back?

  • Is your head jutted out?

• If so, pull your shoulders back, tuck your pelvis forward and make sure your head’s not jutted out (I’ll bet you look taller now!).

• Now turn sideways. What you want is to be able to draw an imaginary vertical line that goes straight through your ear, shoulder, hip, back of your knee and ankle.

• To be more precise, you can use string and weight to make a plum line. What you do is attach a pair of scissors to a six-foot length of twine (longer if you’re really tall). Have someone hold the free end of the string just above your ear and let the scissors rest on the floor.

If this exercise shows that you’re out of alignment, correct your stance using the string as a guide. Now, simply remember the feeling and adjust your stance whenever you sense that you’re posture’s out of whack.

You should also check for a proper sitting posture, especially if you spend most of your days at a computer terminal or other job that forces you to sit a lot.

If you’re like many people, you probably often cross your legs while you lean forward. You may well find that your head is often jutted out toward your computer screen, which results in your shoulders being rounded and your back being stretched out.

To break these habits, follow these simple tips to have proper posture while sitting:

• Sit up straight – in other words, assume the military position: shoulders back, head up, chest out, stomach tight

• Get a good chair with back support

• Bring your work surface closer to you

• Take several breaks during the day to perform a series of stretching and isometric exercises (these can be done sitting or standing)

a. With your hands behind your back, gently pull your shoulders back and maintain this position for one to three minutes

b. Turn your head halfway to the right (or left), then drop your head forward until you feel slight tension. Let the weight of your head gently stretch the neck muscles. Go slowly – no pain! Hold this position for up to two minutes, then turn to the opposite side and repeat.

Remember, an ounce of prevention – in this case, good sitting and standing posture – is worth a pound of cure quite literally.