Posture, Chiropractic, and Your Body
Updated: Mar 11, 2020
We are all told by our parents to sit up straight. Is it just another one of those sayings? Turns out that these seemingly small "poor" habits can have dramatic impacts on our overall health. Maybe there's wisdom behind these age-old sayings.
First What Structures Determine Our Posture
Our spine and appendicular skeleton consist of several complex mechanisms including curves and locking mechanism to distribute the weight of the body proportionately throughout the entire system. We have three curves in our spine (cervical, thoracic, lumbar) that are responsible for distributing weight evenly throughout the spine. These structures and the associated muscles make up the structure of our posture. The muscles that attach directly to the spine are especially responsible for stabilizing the spine and providing the proper amount of tension to maintain these curves. They also play an important role in movement along with sitting/standing erectly.
Losses or increases in these curves are caused by repetitive strain, slouching, increased body mass, inactivity/hyperactivity of muscle groups, and a whole host of other conditions. These changes are commonly visualized as what looks or is thought of as "poor" posture. When these curves are no longer biomechanically sound it results in unequal weight distribution on the bones and soft tissue of the spine. Unequal weight distribution can lead to early degeneration, increased pressure on soft tissue structures, and repetitive stress injuries. Many people often feel stiff, tight, experienced numbness/tingling, and/or pain that travels into their arm or leg as a result of these changes.
What Can I Do?
1. First, take a break. Sitting. Standing, Running. Jumping. Vary movement and remember to switch positions during periods of inactivity. Standing is a great alternative to sitting but standing for 10+ hours is not the answer.
2.Practice exercises that strengthen postural muscles such as practicing isometric holds. These exercises will help you create the endurance needed to maintain proper alignment for extended periods of time. An isometric exercise is where a muscle is continuously constructed for a period of time. A "superman" is a great example of an exercise that activates and stregthens commonly weak postural muscles.
3. Check your posture. The center of your ear should align with the center of the shoulder hip, and the bump on the outside of your ankle. Standing and visualizing good posture is important to get a sense of what proper alignment should feel like.
4. Get Adjusted. Chiropractic adjustments help restore normal biomechanics to the joints of the spine and extremities. This will allow you to move properly and help avoid the stiffness that comes with prolonged poor posture. Chiropractic adjustments also stimulate your nervous system to release endorphins, decrease pain, and increase range of motion.
Sit Up Straight.
Dr. David Satterfield, Chiropractor