“Sit up straight.”

How many times have we heard that phrase when we were kids? Whether in school, at home, or with our relatives, that was the second most uttered phrase next to, “Eat your vegetables.”

Annoying as it was to hear, those saying it did us a service. The fact is, good posture is essential to good health. Physiologically, good posture is defined as “a form of fitness in which the muscles of the body support the skeleton in an alignment that is stable as well as efficient. This state of being called good posture is present both in stillness and in movement.”

If you have good posture, you reap a world of benefits, including decreasing the wear on joint surface, preventing fatigue, backache and muscular pain, and contributing to a positive physical appearance. What’s more, correct posture helps to improve breathing, providing more oxygen to organs and other internal systems, even improving functioning of the digestive system.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that poor posture can create a multitude of physical problems, including: bad circulation; chronic shoulder, neck and back pain; chronic fatigue; herniated discs; misalignment in your body; and limited range of motion.

What causes bad posture? There are a variety of factors, some hereditary, some injury related, others the result of stress and even poor mental attitude. Just sitting in a “slouching” position – like your teachers and parents told you not to do – can be a big contributor.

Pregnant women and new moms have additional factors working against them. They carry their babies a lot, whether internally while pregnant or externally after birth. They’re constantly bending over a crib. They’re tired a great deal of the time, which makes standing up straight difficult. Just the act of breastfeeding can encourage bad posture. Keeping their bodies straight can be a daily struggle.

Question is, how do you identify bad posture, and how do you fix it? First, identifying it. This isn’t a definitive test, but it will give you some idea of what you’re dealing with:

Stand up and put the back of your head and back against a wall
Place your heels about 6 inches from the wall
Your shoulder blades and buttocks should be touching the wall
Now to perform the poor posture test: there should be less than 2 inches between your neck or the small of the back and the wall
If there is a larger gap, it may indicate poor posture and a curving spine
If this test indicates that you have a postural issue – or if you suspect one on your own, based on various aches and pains in your back, shoulders, arms, etc. – you should see you your primary physician. He or she may request additional tests or send you to an orthopedic specialist. The remedy may be a simple as some at-home exercises, or as involved as surgery; that will be up to the medical professionals to decide.

However, regardless of what form your treatment takes, it’s very possible that a posture corrector will be part of that treatment. If so, the Gabrialla Corrector for Thoracic Lumbo-Sacral Orthosis is one you should seriously consider. Recommended by doctors specifically for women to correct posture and provide support for the abdomen, lumbosacral, and middle and upper back areas, it is ideal for treating/preventing scoliosis, spinal problems, osteochondrosis, osteoporosis, lumbago, kyphosis, and radiculitis. Designed to fit the contours of a woman’s body, the two flexible metal stays, removable anterior and posterior rigid pads, criss-cross design, reinforced straps, and extra shoulder sleeves all combine to provide the best in comfort and support.

We haven’t ignored men and children, by the way; under our ITA-MED brand we offer posture correctors for both groups. Using different sizing and contour designs to fit specific body structures, the ITA-MED Style TLSO-250P Posture Corrector (Pediatric) and the ITA-MED Style TLSO-250M Posture Corrector for Men offer the same benefits as our Gabrialla brand product: improving posture and easing pain, all in a comfortable, well-constructed support. The pediatric support is especially important as many kids suffer from scoliosis – a very common problem among teenagers and younger schoolkids. Poor posture is not something to take lying down. Let a medical professional identify the issue. And if necessary, let a Gabrialla or ITA-MED Posture Corrector straighten out the problem – literally.