“Stand up straight!”, “Pull your shoulders back!”. As children, we were told time and time again to straighten ourselves out, yet many of us simply didn’t have a clue why this upright behavior was being demanded of us. As children, the chances that we were ever shown effective ways to accomplish this, was almost zero.
Posture refers to the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while standing or sitting. You have a good posture when your body is able to stand, walk and sit in a manner that least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement or weight-bearing activities.
Proper posture keeps us in check, and the health benefits are numerous. Our bones and joints remain in the correct alignment, so our muscles are used properly. It can help decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that can result in arthritis. It decreases the stress on the ligaments, holding the joints of the spine together. It prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy. Correct posture also prevents general strain or overuse problems, and it relieves, or can even negate, backache and muscular pain. Last but not least, good posture contributes greatly to a good appearance and sex appeal.
A well balanced posture is proven to be an integral part of physical attractiveness. In most cultures correct posture is considered as a mark of a well adjusted and adaptable personality and, believe it or not, both men and women consider this as one of the most salient features in the attractiveness. So, ladies and gentlemen, now is the time to take a look in the mirror and see how we can stand and walk a little taller.
If you feel that you have an issue that is posture related, the Chiropractic approach can deliver a strong balance of practical and medical input to maximum positive result.
Total body solution
Your Chiropractor is specially trained in the art of detection, and they see posture as the window to the spine, with poor posture generally indicating that there may be a problem with a person’s spine and nervous system. This is then something that is likely to have negative repercussions on the entire body. The related problems can manifest themselves in multiple organs, glands as well as the nervous system of the body, leading to not just muscular but also general ill health.
When you visit a Chiropractor, his most important task is to evaluate and find the cause of your problem through structural analysis of the body. A Chiropractor may also use orthopedic, neurological or other physical tests, or order X-rays, CAT-scan or MRI to further support the right diagnosis. Only by having an accurate assessment of your condition, followed by the right diagnosis, can any physician deliver the right therapy. When a Chiropractor has identified the areas of the skeletal system that may cause your symptoms, he will then explain you fully the treatment plan, expected time for the recovery, and also the expected extent of recovery you may expect.
Poor posture can be brought about by many factors, the most common of which are obesity, pregnancy, weak muscles, high-heeled shoes, tight muscles, decreased flexibility, poor work environment and poor sitting and standing habits. You don’t have to look very far to see evidence of bad posture in action. It is everywhere. Colleagues slouched over their computer at the office. Children bent forward carrying heavy school bags to class. Incorrect exercise regime at the gym, over compensated, high-heal wearing, ladies teetering down the street with a café latte in hand and heavy suitcase in the other. Imagine the stresses and strains that these positions put on your body. The results are backaches, headaches, and a myriad of other painful symptoms all of which can easily be avoided.
Advice for a positive way forward
In our busy lives, with little time to take the right precautions, it is very difficult to avoid the odd moment of bad posture, however, if you take the following advice you can protect your body from unnecessary the wear and tear.
In line with the thinking that prevention is always better than cure, we have the ability to recognise our own postural issues and correct them before the problems start. Try looking in the mirror, or asking a good friend to help you out. Relax and have a good look at yourself from head to toe. Now look. See if your head is slightly forward when you stand up straight. Another sign to look for is the head slightly leaning to one side or the shoulders drooping forward or too far back. See if one shoulder is higher than the other. From the side, is your tummy or bottom sticking out? When standing upright do your knees touch, or are your feet rather flat? Is one hip is higher than the other?
Next step, there are three basic positions during which you can take certain steps to improve your posture: lying, sitting and standing/walking.
Lying: We spend a large percentage of our life in bed so make sure that your bed offers you the right mix of comfort and back and neck support. Too soft or too hard can cause poor sleeping posture and result in waking with the pain. A good orthopaedic bed is great option and will instantly improve both body position and the quality of your sleep. Also remember that a well supporting pillow of the correct size is vital. Various sleep positions place various strains on the body, however it is sleeping on your tummy that tends to cause the most problems. Our bodies heal during sleep, so if your rest is poor, your body will be slow to heal, giving rise to chronic pain syndromes so follow these simple advice and you are on your way to good recovery.
Sitting: At home, at school, in work or in your car, all your seating should be appropriate and comfortable. Lumbar support is essential when seated for long periods, and rest breaks should be regularly taken to avoid sustained postural positions. Short exercise and stretching breaks are very useful and will keep you lively and in youthful good health.
Standing or walking: Practice standing with your back to the wall and you should notice whether your shoulders and head touch the wall. This will make your slouching (if any) really obvious. When walking, be careful not to over compensate or lean back too far in your efforts to stand tall as this is equally damaging. No need to look like a soldier on parade!
If things have progressed to the point where you find yourself with ongoing aches and pains, then self diagnosis and postural rectification may not be the answer. You need to take positive action and seek professional help to manage and treat whatever condition is affecting you personally. The earlier you treat your problem the quicker the problem can be resolved. If you are in real pain, and suspect, may be of back or spine related, it is a good idea to see an experienced Chiropractor as a first stop. They can generally get to the root cause of your problem within hours, starting effective treatment almost immediately and helping to restore optimal spine and pelvis function, bringing about a better posture and a new you.