Most people are familiar with posture – at least to the extent of knowing that it can be good or bad. “I know I’ve got terrible posture” is a comment we hear all too frequently in chiropractic offices! So if we know our posture is bad what’s the reason for it? What are the benefits of good posture and what are the consequences if it is poor?
How Do You Define Posture?
Birmingham Chiropractor, Lisa Andrews, says, “Posture is the position in which we hold our bodies when standing, sitting and laying down. Good posture is the balanced alignment of the spine and body parts and is essential for good health. It optimises breathing and circulation, reduces stress on joints, reduces risk of injury and relieves pain.”
Whilst you should consult with a trained professional, like your chiropractor, to determine whether your posture is spot on, here are some clues as to whether you’re in the danger zone. Stand as you would normally and have someone observe your profile to determine whether your ears, shoulders, and hips are in a straight line. If any of these areas are out of alignment your posture is poor.
Many of us have jobs that require sitting at a desk for long hours, this can result in the head coming further forwards in position, placing strain on the neck and upper back. Another common postural problem is an uneven pelvis, which can have a variety of everyday causes.
So, if poor posture is so common, what’s the harm? Poor posture indicates an unbalanced spine, and along with it being a cosmetic issue, it often contributes to problems you may not have connected to it before. Neck pain or lower back pain, even headaches can result when our spine is out of balance from bad posture.
In order to improve your posture, it may be helpful to understand how your posture became poor in the first place.
Sometimes a traumatic event, such as a car accident or a sports injury, can throw your spine out of balance. More commonly however, it’s simply a lifetime of bad habits that have forced our spine and our muscles out of place. Our bodies are fascinating in that they adapt to support our habits. To take the example from above, if you sit at a desk in front of the computer all day, you may find you lean forward with shoulders slumped as you work away. Your body might fight you at first, but over time your muscles may weaken in some areas and tighten in others, moving your normal spinal curves. This shifts the spine out of balance, which in turn can affect your nervous system, leading to a variety of health problems and pain.
If you find that your posture needs improving, some basic lifestyle tips can go a long way as you and your chiropractor retrain your spine and your muscles to line up properly. When sitting, try not to cross your legs. If you type, make sure your arms are parallel to the ground, not slumped at an angle. When standing, balance your weight on both feet; don’t lean one hip out to the side. Also, whether sitting or standing, keep your shoulders back and down. When sleeping, try to stay on your back or your side. Sleeping on your stomach can hamper your posture as your neck is turned to one side all night, and good sleep and regular exercise are all parts of a healthy lifestyle.
Our Posture Conclusion
Posture affects much more than how you look. If you’re ready to improve your posture and improve the way you function and feel, then give Lisa Andrews at Zest Chiropractic a call. It took years to form your bad posture habits, but with our help you can be on the journey to perfect posture in practically no time at all!