Stand up straight. Sit upright without slouching. And don’t cradle the phone against your shoulder either — hold it with your hand instead.
We’re constantly being told, encouraged, urged, and implored — if not downright begged — to maintain proper posture. But why does posture matter anyway? To put it plain simple, the way you carry yourself has an impact not just on your health, but also on your outlook towards the world. And the poor postural habits that form in our formative years are bound to come back and haunt us later on.
The good news is that chiropractic care can address these shortcomings and undo a chunk of the damage they caused. But before we get to that, let’s first examine the role that posture plays in our wellbeing.
Why Exactly Does Posture Matter?
There’s a very good reason you’re constantly advised to be careful with your body’s positioning when standing, sitting, and lying down. Good posture [link – https://medlineplus.gov/guidetogoodposture.html ] (i.e., maintaining your spine’s natural curvature) allows your body function just like it’s designed to. And the slightest deviation from this norm is enough to throw everything out of balance.
Posture has an influence on just about everything that goes on inside your body. It affects how your limbs support your weight and the amount of stress borne by each joint as a result. It also determines the efficiency at which air moves through your respiratory tract, and blood circulates across the body. Posture even affects your mental wellbeing; research shows that consistent poor posture can cause depression in the long-term.
Given words alone might not be enough to help you understand the link between posture and health. Let’s try a simple experiment: Use your fingers to pinch your nose shut and try speaking a few words. Your voice sounds markedly different, doesn’t it? Bad posture affects your bodily processes in a somewhat-similar manner — albeit with unfunny repercussions.
What are the Signs of Poor Posture?
While it contributes to health problems that aren’t always evident, bad posture has a few telltale signs:
Rounded shoulders: Your shoulders should be in line with your torso when in a resting position. You’re said to have rounded shoulders when they’re skewed towards the front.
Forward head carriage: This is where your ear hole doesn’t line up with the mid axis of your shoulder like it’s naturally supposed to, resting further forward instead.
Hunched back: This is characterized by an increase in curvature along the mid to upper back. Also known as kyphosis or round back, this disorder often occurs hand-in-hand with head carriage and rounded shoulders.
Pelvic tilt: Bad posture can shift the pelvis forward or backward; these conditions are known as anterior and posterior pelvic tilt, respectively. Both describe the position of the pelvis relative to the upper torso; use a full-length mirror, or have a friend check you from the side.
Fatigue: Compensating for the above imbalances will inevitably diminish your energy levels. But poor posture can cause you fatigue in yet another way, depriving your cells of the resources they need to generate energy, as hinted earlier.
There’s no need to worry if you’ve noticed any of these symptoms. As bad as your postural shortcomings might seem, relief could be just a few chiro therapy sessions away. Not only is chiropractic effective for such issues, but it’s also devoid of surgical and pharmacological measures — that translates to minimal risk of complications and side effects.
How Do Doctors of Chiropractic Treat Poor Posture?
Chiropractic therapy for posture is steered by two key objectives: Correcting imbalances plus the damage they’ve caused, and addressing the root cause(s) of poor posture. With that in mind, the treatment process will usually involve the following steps:
– Background assessment: This is what your very first appointment will involve. After you’ve outlined your complaints, the chiropractor will ask a few questions to determine whether or not you actually have poor posture. He or she will want to know more about your day-to-day routine, workplace environment, and exercise habits. You will also discuss your medical history, plus any events you think could’ve contributed to your problems.
Now that your DC has a good picture of your background, the next step is to put your posture under the lens. You’ll be asked to sit, stand, walk, bend, and maybe do a few simple exercise movements. This, along with measurements of your physique, will allow the doctor to pinpoint anomalies like uneven shoulders, arched back, twisted pelvis, and such.
Your chiropractor — being well-versed with the musculoskeletal system– will likely have figured out what exactly is wrong with your posture at this point. Even so, you’ll still be taken through more diagnostic procedures; your chiropractor will need orthopedic and neurological tests to rule out underlying illnesses. Also required are X-rays of your spine to check for abnormalities in its curvature and alignment.
The cornerstone of chiropractic adjustment involves gentle, controlled forces to correct alignment and position along the spine and other joints. You might hear cracking noises while your doctor performs adjustments; these occur when gas bubbles trapped between adjoining bones escape. Other than that, you’ll hardly feel any pain or discomfort.
Soft tissue work
One of the more pronounced effects of bad posture is the imbalance it creates in soft tissue, the tension that builds along with muscles due to over- and under-use. Your DC will administer remedial massage to relieve this tension, plus strengthening exercises to address the weaknesses caused by under-use.
You will agree that it doesn’t make sense to seek treatment only to backslide into your old habits once you leave the clinic. To that end, your chiropractor will recommend rehabilitative exercises to keep your spine and joints in shape. You’ll be enlightened on how to maintain good posture throughout the day; how to keep your spine in neutral shape when sitting, standing, walking, and going about other activities. The doctor will further offer tips for setting up your home and workplace to make them conducive for good posture.
It’s clear that our elders were right all along when they counseled us on postural matters.
That being said, chiropractic intervention is highly effective in addressing not just the shortcomings developed from not heeding this advice, but also the damage caused by poor posture. And because it’s inherently risk-free, chiro therapy is suitable for just about everyone. Get in touch with your local DC and start the journey towards a fitter, healthier, and more confident version of yourself! If you are in the Beaverton OR area and looking for top-rated chiropractors for your treatment needs, check out this article about finding the right chiropractor.