Most people have some sense that maintaining or achieving good posture is good for their health, even if they aren’t sure exactly why. However, an increasing number of people have bad posture due to poor habits carried out over the years. Unfortunately, this trend is increasing over the past couple of decades with heavily increased use of personal electronic devices, long hours seated at work, and lack of proper exercise.
Posture is the position in which you hold your body while sitting, standing, or lying down. Good posture, on the other hand, is the proper alignment of your body parts supported by the correct amount of muscle tension against gravity.
Typically, you don’t consciously maintain normal posture. Rather, certain muscles will do it for you under the guidance of part of our nervous system, and you won’t even have to think about it. Vital in maintaining proper posture are many different muscle groups and ligaments, including areas like the large back muscles and the hamstrings.
Your ligaments not only help to hold your skeleton together, but they also help distribute forces from gravity and movement through the body. Just like braces or posture correctors, your postural muscles also help ensure you are able to maintain your posture and balance during movement.
Good posture can help you lie, walk, sit, and stand in positions that put the least amount of stress and strain on your body structures and tissues, especially during movement and weight-bearing activities.
Not only that, the right posture also:
- Helps keep your joints and bones in correct alignment so your muscles are used accordingly. This decreases the possibility of abnormal wearing down of your joints that might result in joint pain and even degenerative arthritis.
- Reduces the stress on the ligaments that are holding your spine and body joints together. This significantly reduces the likelihood of injury.
- Allows your muscles to work more efficiently so your body will use less energy. As a result, you can avoid muscle fatigue.
- Helps prevent overuse disorders, muscle strain, and reduces changes of developing chronic painful conditions.
In order to maintain proper posture, it is important that you have adequate muscle strength and flexibility, efficient postural muscles that are balanced on both sides of the spine, and normal joint motion in your spine. Also, you need to assess your postural habits in the workplace and at home so you can correct them accordingly.
As mentioned, people who chronically exhibit poor posture put much more stress on their body, which makes them more prone to injury and pain. But beyond this we are learning that poor posture can have negative effects on our health in many ways. Don’t take our word for it, listen to this quote from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
“Deviations in the body’s center of gravity (poor posture) have resulted in intestinal problems, varicose veins, osteoporosis, hip and foot deformities, poor health, decreased quality of life, and a shortened life span.”
In other words, not only does poor posture cause many negative health risks, but it can actually make you die earlier than if you maintain proper posture! Perhaps this is something worth devoting more time and effort to maintaining, even if you aren’t having any current aches or pains.
Fortunately, our doctors of chiropractic at Elite Spine Centres are trained in multiple areas of analysis and techniques to properly assess and correct many postural problems. Some problems may be structural in nature, while others may have resulted from improperly healed injuries or poor habits at work and home. Therefore the right combination of treatment and advice is needed to best address your specific concerns.
Often to correct posture our chiropractors may recommend:
- Physical examination and analysis (possibly with x-ray) to assess your specific structure
- Detailed history of your home and work habits to see if any repetitive tasks could be putting you at increased risk of developing poor posture
- Customised lifestyle modification strategies and exercises to work on stretching your hypertonic (tight) muscles and soft tissues
- Strengthening exercises to activate and develop your “core” for long-term support
- Manual therapy and chiropractic care to improve joint mobility and reduce scar tissue formation which may have developed over time
- Braces or posture correction tools may be prescribed as needed
Understandably, long-standing postural problems will take much longer to address compared to short-lived ones. Depending on your age and condition, various amounts of treatment, exercise and time may be required to help you reach your postural goals.
Schedule an appointment to come down and consult with one of our posture correction experts today so you can safeguard your spine and body against pain and dysfunction, and protect your health over the long-term.
Author: Dr. Michael Bryant