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Posture…We All Know Its Important. Or Do We?
Find out where it all went wrong and how you can stop bad posture from ruining your health.
What is Posture?
We all probably have an idea of what posture is and most will know that good posture is good for our bodies and our health and well-being. You may remember someone at some time in your life instructing you to “sit up straight” or told “don’t slouch!”. Posture isn’t just something that we should only correct when it goes wrong, it is something that we need to be aware of every day throughout our lives. Posture applies to everyone at every age. From birth to death, it is one of the most important components to a healthy life and should not be ignored.
What is Good Posture?
When looking at posture we must recognize why your body works better with good posture. The center piece for posture is your spine, or the vertebral column. This is an intricate structure made of bones, ligaments, with supporting muscles and tendons. Inside the spine is your spinal cord; an important part of your central nervous system. The central nervous system delivers all the vital information and signals telling the body what to do. If you imagine how serious a spinal chord injury is to a person you soon see why the body places a huge importance of looking after the spine. From the front, the spine must have perfect vertical alignment; head, shoulders and hips remaining as close to level as possible. From the side, your spine should have three naturally flowing curves which help to support the weight of your body and head.
Common signs of bad posture can include:
- Hunched or Rounded Shoulders.
- Excessive or Insufficient curvatures of the spine.
- Head coming too far forward over the shoulders.
- Pelvis tilting too far forward or backwards.
- Hips or Shoulders being in bad alignment, one being higher than the other or further forward or back.
What Causes Poor Posture?
When we look at what our bodies were designed to do, and then compare that to what most of us do daily, there’s a big problem. Our human body has been carefully crafted over hundreds of thousands of years to allow us to efficiently and effectively walk and run around on our two legs and this has therefore allowed us the free use of our hands for complex tasks. From hunting to farming, this upright posture has often been considered the most important development of our species. It allowed us to get a step up for survival, and through a process of refining our skills has allowed us to thrive on this planet.
Unfortunately if we look at how our bodies are now changing, we may be going backwards. The human body was designed for movement and the reality is we are not getting enough today. The positions we remain in for long periods are also not congruent for the design of our spine.
We wake up, we drive to work, we sit for 8-10 hours, we drive home, then we sit on the sofa winding down at the end of the day before going to sleep. We repeat this for many years of our lives, often not noticing any of the effects it is having to our posture and health. We also look down at smartphones, tablets, laptops multiple times throughout the day. Combine this with bad lifestyle habits we may have such as footwear choices, the bed we sleep in, the pillows we choice, the types of rucksack we wear or bending and lifting, its no wonder why the statistics for people suffering with musculoskeletal problems such as; back pain, neck pain, headaches, arm/shoulder pain and leg pain, are so high.
How to Correct Your Posture?
A lot of these can be fixed and prevented by considering your daily posture and doing activities that can help take off the load of sitting and being inactive all day. Some tips include;
Be Active and engage in more physical activity. That can mean exercising daily and having a stretching or mobility routine to keep your joints and muscles mobile, elastic and strong. It doesn’t have to be crazy or extreme, it could be a daily walk/jog for 30 mins followed by some simple stretches before or after work. It is best to fit this into your daily routine.
Consider your Ergonomics at home and at work. Get your chair checked at work and have your screen re-positioned so that it is eye level. Even better, adjust your posture every 15-20 minutes and be conscious of the time you are in one position.
Check your Pillow and Mattress. Find a suitable pillow that doesn’t cause extra stress on the neck through the night, and make sure your mattress is supportive enough for you. Remember most people spend 8 hours in bed at night, that adds up to 1/3 of your life. Position is important too, if you are waking up sore or stiff then it may be sign your positioning isn’t ideal.
It can be very difficult to keep up with all the ways in which our daily life can affect our posture. A healthcare professional such as a Chiropractor has an in-depth understanding of the spine and how it can be affected by posture. If you do many things that are bad for your spine it can begin to have undesirable affects, some more noticeable than others. Preventing these issues can be better than waiting for symptoms of bad posture to begin. Chiropractic Adjustments to maintain good alignment and movement of the spine can really help to prevent issues from arising.
A chiropractor can detect and correct postural abnormalities in your body and address the areas that have been compromised in order to improve the alignment and tension throughout your body. Chiropractic care can help ensure that bad posture is not compromising the joints of the body which would cause ‘wear and tear’ and speed up the degenerative (arthritic) process. In addition, they can improve the function of your spine so that their is little to no interference to your nervous system which helps your body to perform more optimally.
“Of all the things you wear, your posture is the most important!”
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