Posture and Your Health
Are you aware of your posture? Notice how the correct head posture has the ear and shoulder in a straight line. Now look around the room, how many heads to you see sitting forward, as if almost falling off the body? The amount of the population with forward head carriage is very high. Some of the symptoms that accompany forward head carriage include: headaches, neck pain, teeth clenching, jaw pain, fatigue. There are many things that can contribute to the development of a forward head posture-sitting at a desk, driving a car, washing the dishes, looking at a cell phone…all of these activities cause a rounded, forward posture. As the head gravitates forward, the muscles in the front of the chest become tight, while the muscles in the back become weak and stretched. As the neck enters this posutre, the rest of the spine will follow in a domino like effect.
The domino effect moves down the spine into the thoracic spine, or middle back. The head carries its weight forward, causing our midback to hunch in an effort to protect the spine from the extra pressure. It is also a product of the weakened muscles. Sitting or standing with this hunched over posture decreases the space inside the chest and abdomen. It does not allow the lungs to fully inflate, and makes breathing more difficult. It can also put pressure on the stomach and intestines leading to poor digestion/GI issues. Poor posture also causes pressure on the internal organs, decreasing their ability to function properly. The Spinal Research Foundation states, “extra pressure is being placed on nerves, blood vessels, bones and organs.”
Moving down the spine again, we reach the low back. Again in an effort to compensate for the forward head carriage the low back or pelvis tends to tip forward causing weak abs and glutes and tight back and hip muscles. Poor posture doesn’t always start with forward head carriage and it doesn’t always have a domino effect as shown above. However, this is a good example of how everything in the body is connected and one problem can lead to more.
Posture is greatly affected by our daily activities. This starts with children. Sitting in school all day is hard on a child's body. Often times the table or desk and chair are not the exact right fit for a child, causing them to slump in their seat. Playing video games, watching television or playing on an ipad is often done in a slumped position as well.
Moving from adolescence into adulthood, no matter what type of job you have, it can put you into positions that lead to poor posture or strain on the spine. Lifting, twisting, sitting, standing, and bending without proper form are all common causes of back pain and injuries. As stated in the article, Evidence-based ergonomics education: Promoting risk factor awareness among office computer workers, “Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) related to computer work have become a serious public health concern.”
There are many daily activities that we do that are causing us to put extra pressure on our spines. Text neck is a big problem in today’s world. Driving, computer work, lounging, talking on the phone and multitasking-all often put us in unfavorable positions.
Changing posture takes more than just a conscious effort to stand up straight. You will need to re-train your body and muscles to be in the correct place. Putting yourself in a position to be in better posture is a good place to start. Bring your phone up to eye level, tuck your pelvis under when holding your kids. Put that iPad in a position of eye level. Set yourself up for proper posture habits.
Whether you work in an office, construction site, assembly line or anything else for that matter, be aware of your body positioning throughout your work day. If you are at a desk, get the positioning of your computer and chair to be right for your size. If you are lifting, use proper mechanics. If you do a lot of reaching, take the extra second to move your whole body instead of keeping your feet planted and bending and twisting. Be aware of the strain you put on your body.
One of the best and most effective ways to change your posture is to strengthen the weak muscles and stretch the tight groups. you’ll need to use an exercise program to help strengthen the muscles that have become weak and retrain your body to be in the proper position.
Your spine and muscles are the foundation for your body and your posture. If one or both of them is off track, it can lead to pain, discomfort, and less than optimal working conditions for the body. By adjusting the spine, we are helping to restore the body’s natural posture and allowing it to function at its best.
Along with chiropractic adjustments, we offer at our office physiotherapy modalities including ultrasound, electric muscle stimulation, and kinsiotaping. Ultrasound helps to increase blood flow to the area, flush out inflammation and bring nutrients into the area as well as help to relax muscles. Electric stimulation helps to calm spasming muscles and decrease pain. Kinesiotaping can be used to help with proprioception in other words, help your body realize what position it is in. It can also help with inflammation, pain relief and strength.
For a spinal/postural evaluation, adjustment or postural exercises schedule an appointment at 715.273.4115
Ellsworth Chiropractic & Wellness Center
187 E Main
Ellsworth WI 54011