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Posture and Chiropractic

Growing up we were often reminded not to slouch and to sit or stand up straight. It may sound repetitive, but this advice was not without good reason. Having good posture helps us to carry out our day to day activities without causing excessive strain on our physical body.

Before we get into the details, let us address the elephant in the room, what does the word posture mean? In a nutshell, posture is how we hold our own bodies up against gravity. There are of two types of posture. These are:

Static – how your body holds itself when you are not moving (e.g. sitting, standing, sleeping)

Dynamic – this is how your body holds itself when you are in motion (walking, running etc.)

What exactly does good posture look like?

  • Chin parallel to the floor
  • Shoulders even height with the chest wide open
  • Neutral spine (no overarching or flexing your spinal curvatures in the neck or upper or lower back)
  • Abdominal muscles engaged
  • Knees even and pointing straight ahead
  • Body weight distributed evenly on both feet
  • Ear, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle lined up vertically when viewed from the side.

Why it is important to have properly balanced posture?

  • Having balanced posture means that we place the least amount of strain on supporting muscles and ligaments whether we are in a static position (standing or sitting) or moving around (running, walking, jumping, twisting etc.). Good posture ensures:
  • Proper bone and joint alignment so that muscles are being used the way they were meant to, preventing muscle strain and therefore minimizing the likelihood of injury
  • Decreased abnormal wear on joint surfaces
  • Decreased stress on ligaments holding our joints together
  • Better mood
  • Higher sense of self esteem
  • Better handling of stress – our brain increases our fight flight activation when our head is carried in a forward posture.
  • Better breathing
  • That you look great too.

Our spinal cord travels almost the entire length of our spine. Our spine is designed to protect the main communication highway in our body, our spinal cord. Improper posture can lead to unnecessary strain on our nervous system impeding the proper communication between our brain and our body!

Consequences of improper posture

  • Subluxation – spinal misalignment improper movement which disrupts normal nervous system function
  • Physical discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Decreased breathing proficiency

What can you do to improve posture?

  • Mix it up and move around! It’s good to break up the pattern a little bit. After sitting down for a period of time, stand up and have a good stretch. Having the drink station on the other side of the room helps to get those extra steps throughout the day
  • Proper ergonomic set up – A lot of us have sedentary work. Minor adjustments such as making sure that your arms are supported, moving your chair closer to your desk and placing your monitor one arm length away instead of being too close to you can make a huge difference to improve your posture.
  • Stretch and exercise - Strengthening the core muscles helps you maintain your posture. Have a chat with your chiropractor. With a thorough examination, your chiropractor will be able to help you to identify certain areas that you can focus on to improve your posture.

Posture and Chiropractic Wellington | Total Health Chiropractic