"Stand up straight--don't slouch!"
If you have heard your grandparents or parents tell you to do this, don't ignore it because it is definitely worth heeding. Out of all your body's components, the spine may be the most overlooked and understated part of your body most responsible for maintaining overall good health.
The way you hold your body impacts how easily it can adapt to the stress of gravity, carrying excess weight and imbalance. Bad posture forces muscles to work harder, interferes with functioning of the circulatory and nervous system and may lead to development of numerous health issues that are routinely misdiagnosed and mistreated by physicians.
Physical Causes of Poor Posture
Your poor posture may not be simply a bad habit. Chiropractors evaluate poor posture by first determining if one of the following are causing your bad posture:
Muscle inflexibility--shortened, excessively tight hip muscles can disrupt posture by pulling the upper body too forward. Abnormally inflexible chest muscles will pull shoulders forward as well.
Muscle strength--your balance is directly affected by muscle health and strength. Core muscles supporting your pelvis, buttocks, sides and back form a robust, central connection between your lower and upper body. Weakened core muscles promote "slouching" and "slumping" and other bad postures that tip the body forward and off balance.
Chiropractors improve integrity and strength of compromised muscles with physical/rehabilitative therapy exercises and spinal adjustments that restore spinal alignment for optimizing nervous system functioning. When spinal nerves are compressed and irritated by vertebrae pressing against nerves, muscles are innervated by abnormal nerve signals and react unhealthily to normal physical activity.
What is Good Posture?
- Your chin is parallel with the floor
- Your shoulders are evenly set (you can achieve this by rolling your shoulders back, up, then down)
- Your spine is "neutral" (be aware of overemphasizing the curve in the lower back. Don't arch that curve)
- If you are standing, your arms are at your sides, with elbows even and straight
- Your abdominal muscles are braced and supportive of your upper body
- Your knees are even. Kneecaps are pointing forward, not to the side.
- Your body weight is evenly distributed over both feet
During your appointment with your chiropractor, you will be asked to stand and sit normally. Don't try to make your posture appear better than it typically is. Sit and stand as you do every day so your chiropractor can correctly diagnose problems with your posture.
How Chiropractors Help You Achieve Good Posture
Using evidence-based treatments based on the science and principles of chiropractic medicine, chiropractors help keep your joints and muscles healthy to support good posture, reduce wear and tear of joint surfaces and decrease stress on ligaments that hold spinal joints together. In addition, adjustments, active release technique and therapeutic massage contributes to preventing your spine from developing a fixed, abnormal position.
Maintaining good posture decreases the risk of suffering backaches, shoulder pain, neck pain and lower back pain. Without enhanced muscle flexibility, healthy postural muscles, muscle balancing on both sides of your spine and an increased awareness of posture, you could be experiencing certain chronic conditions that are simply due to poor posture.
When to See Your Chiropractor About Posture-related Health Problems
If you have visited your family physician for treatment of one or more of the following conditions and the condition persists, you might need chiropractic treatment for your posture:
- Jaw pain/TMJ
- Gastrointestinal problems/acid reflux
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty with memory/concentration/focus
Call Geaux Chiro today to schedule an appointment with a chiropractor if you suffer recurring health issues associated with poor posture. Remember, your spine is intricately connected with your nervous system and plays an important role in preventing many inflammatory conditions. We can help restore your general health and well-being without drugs or surgery. Contact us today!