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Correct Posture - Why Mom Was Right!
How Important is Your Posture?
Posture isn’t something we think about very often, but as society becomes less and less active and more jobs involve being seated there is an increasing trend towards poor posture.
It is hard to think of a situation, in regards to general health, where ignoring a postural problem could be justified, as this is likely to lead to eventual injury or health problems. With good posture the muscles and joints of the body are aligned correctly and this means that they can function efficiently.
If fact all the nerves and blood vessels are effected by posture which in turn can effect your health! Studies have shown that mom was right about good posture and how long term your posture can effect not only how you look but how your general state of health will be.
Stand up or sit up straight with your head align with your shoulders, chest and hips, your lower back curve. Good posture means your muscles are not working hard to support you, instead your body framework of ligaments is carrying the load without stress.
What exactly happens when posture is out of alignment, and why is alignment so important?
When body segments are not optimally aligned this can cause changes and compensations within the body - affecting the way that the body moves, functions and develops.
Poor posture places increased stress on joints, bones, ligaments (that join bone to bone) and muscles. Over time these alterations can lead to the early breakdown of those structures within the joints and alter the way that the muscles operate, as stretched muscles become weaker and shortened muscles tighter.
As this happens other muscles have to work harder to compensate for the weak ones and this places them at greater risk of injury. When the muscles stop working to support the spine then ligaments take over. Over time this can lead to ligament injuries which can show up as chronic back or neck problems.
Eventuality even the various organs can be effected due to postural deficits, such as the digestive tract (stomach and G / I tract) or the heart and lungs system. Such effects can include shortness of breath, loss of energy, reflux, stomach pain, rapid heartbeat, etc.
Extreme posture defects are often seen in "scoliosis" patients where curvature of the spine can cause serious health issues, even be life threatening.
How can posture effect your health?
Let's examine two examples.
Sitting for long periods during the day, particularly if working at a computer, can lead to problems with posture. Constantly sitting poorly often causes the shoulders and head to move forward, this leads to tightening of the chest and weakness in the upper back - resulting in a hunched over appearance.
Such posture defect over the long term can cause neck, back and even arm / wrist problems (such as carpal tunnel), such as pain and numbness, weakness in muscle strength and even headaches.
Posture can sometimes be a confusing area to understand as it is often the compensations that manifest themselves over the actual cause. For example knee pain is often related to a muscle imbalance at the hip or lower leg rather than a problem with the knee itself. Often such patient will be told nothing can be found wrong with the knee, therefore there is no treatment. The real answer is found in the back or hip which is often missed and not treated.
SO WHAT TO DO?
Often a 4-6 week program of custom corrective exercise combined with home stretching can help - allowing exercise intensity to be safely increased while maintaining a focus on correct form and posture.
Muscle weakness can be determine by chiropractic evaluation and proper posture exercises can be perform to help correct poor posture.
A chiropractor will ALWAYS perform an assessment before designing an exercise program, otherwise it is nothing more than guesswork and could lead to worsening postural faults, rather than improving them.
Do you have any questions or concerns Chiropractic and how it can help your posture? Contact Us or call Dr. Lawson DC directly at 858-576-6329. He will be happy to answer your questions and set up a prompt appointment.