Itís All About Posture!
Sit up straight! Don't slouch! These were the magic words our moms would say as she gave us a slap on the back. As soon as mom walked away, most of us would resume our old habit of poor posture. Mom knew little about the affects of poor posture on health and disease, but some how, some way, mother did know best.
What is good posture and why is it important? Basically, posture refers to the body's alignment and positioning with respect to gravity. Good posture is all about distributing the forces of gravity through our body’s structure so that no one structure is overstressed or burdened. Correct posture is a simple but very important way to keep the many intricate structures in the back and spine healthy.
Not maintaining balanced posture can add strain to muscles and put stress on the spine. Over time, the stress of poor posture can change the anatomical characteristics of the spine, supporting muscles, and ligaments, leading to the possibility of constricted blood vessels and nerves. Good posture is vital to good health!
Postural health is not part of mainstream medicine, which is a mistake in my opinion. As long as it is ignored, spine and joint problems will continue to skyrocket. There are millions of spine surgeries and joint replacements performed every year. Most of what I see as a chiropractor is caused by poor posture.
Good posture helps keep our bones and joints in correct alignment so that our muscles are used correctly, thus decreasing the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain. It also reduces the stress on the ligaments holding the spinal joints together, minimizing the likelihood of injury. Good posture lets muscles work efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy and, therefore, preventing muscle fatigue. It also helps prevent muscle strain, overuse disorders, and even back and muscular pain.
Let me give you a simple example. Imagine I asked you to hold an eigth-pound bowling ball in your hand for eight hours. Would you hold it close to your body or would you hold it far out in front of you like a tray? I hope you said close to your body. It would be much easier on your arm and shoulder. If you held the ball in front of you, your arm and shoulder would not last too long. Postural imbalances cause the same type of strain and stress.
One of the most devastating postures I see is what I call forward head syndrome, where the head sits forward from the shoulders. This is equivalent to holding the bowling ball in front of you. Who wouldn’t experience pain? The middle back, upper back and neck become stressed and the end result is tight muscles, constricted blood vessels and pain.
Many things that can cause this postural problem. The most common is sitting at a desk and computer all day. Over time, this postural strain can cause major health issues. For example, breathing can become challenged, eventually becoming more difficult and shallow.
Being aware of good posture is the first step to breaking old poor postural habits and reducing stress and strain on your spine. Your body will thank you for improving your posture and better yet, you should feel like new. Most of your aches and pains should become a thing of the past.
Dr. Bryan Ruocco is a local chiropractor and wellness advocate. He owns and operates the Power of LIFE Wellness Center located in Rocky River. Dr. Ruocco graduated from the Life Chiropractic College in Marietta, GA. He graduated in the top of his class with Magna Cum Laude Honors.