How Your Posture Influences Your Overall Health
How often were you nagged as a kid, teenager, or even adult to sit up straight? It usually leads to an eye roll and a deeper slump into whatever activity we’re engaged in. Well, it turns out those naggers were looking out for your own health and well-being and not just being obnoxious. Having good posture actually plays a pivotal role in your overall health.
What is good posture anyways?
Posture is the position we hold our body in throughout the day (and night- our sleep posture matters too). This includes static positions like standing or sitting and more dynamic movements like walking, running, and other exercise. Think of the last time you saw someone sitting in good posture or performing a sport with elite form. Good form elicits the assumption that a person is in good health- and it’s for good reason too.
The human body is built with many common traits we all share. There are some anomalies and small differences, but for the most part here is what good posture looks like:
- To maximally absorb the impact of movement with daily life- the spine is in a relative “S” curve from your head to butt, this includes:
- Curves that are extension biased in the cervical (neck) and lumbar (low back) spine- these create a backwards “C”
- Curves that are flexion biased in the thoracic (mid-back) spine- creating a “C” curve
- The entire head is balanced over top of the shoulders. If the head is forward (common), it puts a lot of strain on the muscles, ligaments and nerves of the head and neck
- When looking at your body from the side, the upper arms and shoulders should be parallel with the mid-back- not slumped forward
- The chin is slightly tucked to allow a normal line of vision with the eyes
- There is no rotation in the spine at rest
- The lower body (hips, knee, and ankles) is in one relatively straight line that is perpendicular to the floor
- And on… there are a lot of moving parts in the body that all coordinate for optimal posture!
What Happens if I have Poor Posture?
Spending time in chronic poor posture can lead to some major issues with normal body function. The health issues it can cause tend to be subtle and gradually get worse with time when left unattended. Some of the most common problems include:
- Chronic pain- particularly low back pain, headaches, and neck pain
- Chronic inflammation- localized or general
- Low energy secondary to poor body mechanics- especially breathing mechanics
- Spine misalignment affecting nerve health and integrity
- Unnecessary strain and pressure on internal organs
- Trouble sleeping
- Brain fog
- And more…
The biggest concern with poor posture is the way it compromises overall spine alignment. In fact, if spine alignment is the first problem addressed from the list above, it will typically help to alleviate all of the other issues with time. With spine misalignment comes poor nerve flow that affects every basic function in the body. This is exactly why chiropractors, the spine experts, focus on restoring alignment as a primary goal in building sustainable health and recovery.
The Role of Poor Posture and Car Accident Injuries
Often we don’t think twice about our bad posture until something triggers pain, injury, or some other type of injury. One the common triggers for this is a car accident. With high impact to the spine in a motor vehicle event, the misalignments of the spine are often magnified and exacerbated. If you’ve found yourself in a car accident, this is why seeking chiropractic care as soon as possible is highly recommended. They can help you efficiently address your underlying issues and get you back on track.
If you spend a lot of time in your car, another important detail to mention is the importance of keeping good posture in your car. This will decrease the likelihood of complications if you do get into a car accident. Since prevention is always better than treating retroactively, get in the habit of optimally supporting your spine when sitting in your car. Your body will thank you!
How Chiropractic Care Can Help
Poor posture is about so much more than improving the way you look (although it’s an added bonus too). With the guidance of a health professional like a chiropractor, you can both prevent and treat a lot of unnecessary health issues down the road. With a holistic, full body approach to your health- you can learn what good posture is, get any necessary adjustments, and live your life to the fullest.
Don’t wait to be evaluated until your health is already significantly compromised- see if changing your posture with the team at North Alabama Spine and Rehab in Huntsville or Decatur, AL can get you the results you want.