So I wanted to start by firstly asking two questions, “What is your understanding of posture?” … … … Secondly, how do Chiropractic and posture connect? … …
Essentially, posture is the position of the body in space. However, good posture is a state of muscular and skeletal balance that protects the supporting structures of the body against injury or deformity, whether at work or at rest. When we have correct posture, it places minimal stress on the joints of the body and the muscles are less fatigued. Conversely, when our posture is poor the stress on our joints is greater and our muscles have to work much harder. As well as this, correct posture is essential to good health, just as important as good nutrition, exercise and sleeping well. This may surprise a lot of you, and it is often overlooked.
So how can good posture can be beneficial to your health? Good posture means that your spine and other bones are properly aligned and your joints, muscles and ligaments can work as they were designed to. This means that all your vital organs are in the right position and can function at peak efficiency. Good posture also contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system. Good posture is good health, more than just a lack of aches and pains; the long term effects of poor posture can affect bodily systems such as digestion, elimination, breathing, as well as our muscular and skeletal systems.
How does poor posture happen? There are a number of factors that contribute to poor posture
- Accidents, injuries, falls
- Poor sleep support (mattress)
- Excess weight
- Emotional problems, negative self image, depression
- Visual problems
- Weak muscles or muscle imbalance
- Careless sitting, standing or sleeping habits
- Occupational stresses
- Foot problems, improper shoes
What is the result of poor posture?
A lifetime of poor posture can start a progression of symptoms; it may begin with fatigue- your muscles have to work hard just to hold you up; you waste energy just moving leaving you feeling tired and drained. Then it may progress to tight, aching muscles in the neck, back, arms and legs. More than 80% of neck and back problems are the result of tight, achy muscles brought on by years of bad posture. Poor posture also creates joint stiffness and pain- the risk of “wear and tear” arthritis or degenerative arthritis is increased in later years as the joints are asked to work in ways that they were not designed for.
With someone to help you, you can assess each others posture with the following steps
- Take a couple of steps up and own on the spot. Looking from back to front, look for:
- Level shoulders
- Head is straight,
- Hips are level
- Spaces between arms and sides are equal
- Level hips
- Looking from the side
- Head is erect, not backward or forward
- Chin is parallel to floor, not tilting up or down
- Shoulders are in line with ears
- A slight backward curve in the mid back
- Lower back has a slightly forward curve
Good Posture & Aging
Poor posture exacts a high price as you age because it can limit your range of motion- as muscles or ligaments are shortened. It can increase discomfort and pain- headaches, pain across the shoulders, arms, around the eyes; it can create jaw pain as the head leans forward the jaw becomes weight bearing- something it wasn’t designed for. Decreased lung capacity – you can lose 30% of your lung capacity with forward head carriage. Low back pain is one of the most common consequences of poor posture. It can cause nerve interference- your spine is the basis of posture, bad posture can cause spinal misalignments which can interfere with the function of the spinal nerves. Altered positioning of the bowel can create bowel function disturbance. Poor posture can make you look older than you are – and who wants that. Rounded shoulders can make the breasts sag. Any woman, no matter what age can reduce the sag in her breasts by nearly 50% by simply standing tall.
Improving your Posture
- The simplest piece of advice in regard to posture is to imagine you have a balloon full of helium attached to the top of your head. This balloon is pulling you upwards, as you do this, it can restore much of the normal postural balance. You can use this method sitting or standing
- When sitting doing your work, keep your work at elbow height, keep your knees a little higher than your hips, get up and stretch frequently, at least every hour if sitting for long periods, preferably more often
- Sleeping- sleep posture needs to be such that whatever position you are in, your spine is maintained in a neutral position; this means that sleeping on your stomach is a no-no, it decreases your normal mid back curve and you have to have your head turned to one side or the other the whole night, neither of these are good. If sleeping on your back, avoid thick pillows under your head, use a thin pillow, you should place a pillow under your knees to maintain your low back curve. If you are sleeping on your side, use a pillow that is the correct height that keeps you spine in good alignment, keep your knees bent
- Lift correctly
- When bending, never twist and bend at the same time
- None of this is easy, your current pattern is entrenched in your brain, the muscles and ligaments are so used to being in the wrong position they will fight you all the way if you try and make changes
- I believe that the long term benefits are worth the effort, I have had to do it myself and it can be done.
For more information or to have your posture assessed, please contact us at Bull Creek Chiropractic Centre on 9310 1788.
PH: (08) 9310 1788
Specific times are available for New Patients outside those listed below
Tuesday 7.00am-11.00am Wednesday 2.30pm-7.00pm Thursday 7.00am-11.00am Friday 8.00am-11.00am
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