There’s a reason why a regular part of growing up included hearing our parents reminding us to stop slouching and sit up straight. And while some parents may view posture purely from an aesthetic point of view, the importance of good posture is so much more than how we look.
Posture is a word that refers to the alignment and positioning of the body in relation to gravity. No matter what position the body is in (sitting, standing, lying down), gravity exerts force upon the body’s joints, muscles and ligaments. “Posture” is how the body distributes the force of gravity so that the pressure is distributed evenly. If posture is poor, the areas of the body that aren’t receiving a ‘fair’ or even distribution of this force will begin to suffer.
A simple analogy to help you understand how important posture is, is this: think of a building in your neighborhood. Before the building was erected, much thought went into the architecture and design of the building to ensure a solid foundation and as a result, the integrity of the building for years to come. If the building was built on a weak foundation, or constructed of materials that weren’t physically able to support the building, well, disaster could occur! The same goes for your body.
At Broadway AT Yew Chiropractic & Massage, we are committed to helping you and your family improve their posture to help prevent future problems that can result from the condition.
What is Poor Posture?
Poor posture is a condition that results when some of the body’s muscles become too short, causing tightness. In turn, this can cause other muscles to lengthen when they shouldn’t, in order to accommodate the tightening. Sounds confusing and painful doesn’t it? And while some people may not be aware of the ongoing damage their poor posture is causing, others will begin to suffer the side effects. For example, if you suffer from a postural condition called FHP (forward head posture), the problems will begin in your neck, then gradually begin to impact your chest, shoulders, arms, and lower back. Posture issues can be very pervasive and wide-spread.
What Causes Poor Posture?
There are many causes of poor posture. In some people, unfortunately postural issues are due to other conditions or diseases such as arthritis or bone loss, however, in the majority of cases, posture is directly related to a person’s lifestyle and daily activities.
Here are some of the most common causes of poor posture:
•Looking downward a lot during activities such as texting and playing video games
•Working at a computer for long periods of time
•Poor ergonomics at work (chairs, desks, keyboards etc.)
•Improper sleep support (mattress, pillows etc.)
•Lack of exercise
•Poor self-esteem (people with low self-esteem tend to have inward posture as a way to avoid being noticed)
As noted, there are many other conditions and diseases that can contribute to poor posture, but as you can see, there are also things that are within your control when it comes to your posture.
Symptoms of Poor Posture
The obvious symptoms of poor posture are the esthetic ones. Anyone can spot a sloucher from afar – that person that is habitually hunched over in their chair, shoulders rounded inward, chin to chest. And as mentioned, this type of person may not even be aware that they suffer from poor posture because they’ve had it for so long.
For others, a wide variety of symptoms can present that are directly related to posture. Pain is the most common complaint – in particular, neck and back pain. Patients with poor posture frequently report the feeling of sore tight muscles in the neck and back.
If neck pain and back pain are left untreated, and poor posture is not corrected, the symptoms can spread to other areas of the body including the arms and wrists, lower back, hips and knees. But more importantly, the undue wear and tear on the joints and muscles that occurs due to poor posture can eventually lead to conditions like osteoarthritis! So how can poor posture be treated and corrected?
Self-help and Lifestyle Changes
One of the best ways to improve your posture is to be sure to exercise on a regular basis, and keep your weight under control. This will allow your body to move the way it is supposed to without the added work required to support extra weight.
If you spend a lot of time playing video games or using a computer, ensure that you have the right ergonomics in place so that your posture doesn’t suffer.
Check your mattress and pillow – do they provide you with enough support to allow your body to rest in a natural position? If not, it’s time to change them!
Be conscious of your posture whenever possible. Throughout your day, do a ‘posture check’ – make yourself aware of whether or not you’re slouching, and if you are, correct it right away. It’s important to get into the habit of correcting these bad postural habits, even if it causes you some discomfort at first.
Approximately 50% of visits to a Chiropractor’s office are directly or indirectly related to poor posture! Depending on the age of the patient and how long they have been suffering from bad posture, a chiropractic ‘intervention’ is necessary to help correct the posture. As noted above, there are definitely steps you can take on your own to help, but sometimes, undoing the bad posture can be very painful and require more than just a lifestyle change.
At Broadway AT Yew Chiropractic & Massage, our chiropractor’s first line of attack against bad posture is to perform a spinal adjustment to ensure the bones and jones are where they should be. Then we will combine additional adjustments and massage, along with prescribing a series of special exercises and stretches that you can do at home to home to help get your body back in shape.
Poor posture can be corrected, and the benefits will have a positive impact on your entire body! See one of our Vancouver Chiropractors today!